US Navy to commission 64th Arleigh Burke destroyer ‘Ralph Johnson’

The US Navy is set to commission its 64th Arleigh Burke destroyer in a ceremony in Charleston, South Carolina, on Saturday, March 24.

The future USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) is the 30th DDG 51 class destroyer built by the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard and the first warship named for Medal of Honor recipient Marine Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson.

Johnson, a native of Charleston, posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Vietnam War. Johnson used his body to shield two fellow Marines from a grenade, absorbing the blast and dying instantly in March 1968.

In early fall of 2014, the keel of Ralph Johnson was laid down. The ship was launched on Dec. 12, 2015 and christened on April 2, 2016 during ceremonies at the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

The ship was officially received by the navy in November 2017 having previously completed builder’s and navy trials in July and September 2017.

Ralph Johnson is the third of the DDG 51 Flight IIA restart ships and comes equipped with Aegis Baseline 9 combat system, which includes an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability incorporating Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) 5.0 and Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air. Aegis Baseline 9 IAMD destroyers have increased computing power, along with radar upgrades which improve detection and reaction capabilities against modern anti-air warfare and BMD threats.

The ship will be homeported at Everett, Washington.

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