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USN Cant Give Away Spruance DD's


Army.ca Legend
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Pretty sad when you cant even give away ships. ;D

Frankenships Shunned By All

October 9, 2006: The U.S. Navy has decommissioned all 31 of its Spruance class destroyers. An interesting sidelight to that is that the U.S. tried to give away some of these ships, and there were no takers. The United States offered some of them, free, in a "hot transfer." That sort of arrangement is a pretty good deal, because the new owner gets a ship that is still in service, in good shape, and has an American crew that can show the foreign sailors just how to operate their new destroyer. With a "cold transfer", you get a ship that has been decommissioned and left in "reserve" somewhere for years. To get one of these ships back in service, millions of dollars must be spent.

Why did no one want a free Spruance? There were several reasons. First of all, the Spruances were expensive to operate, costing the U.S. Navy about $34 million a year each. This compared to $19 million for a Perry class frigate (a smaller warship), $26 million for a Burke class destroyer (the successor to the Spruance) and $35 million for a Ticonderoga class cruiser (a slightly larger ship built on a lengthened Spruance hull). The Spruances were a radical new destroyer design. For one thing, they were huge, some displaced 9,000 tons (three times the size of World War II destroyers), and crew size was about 330. There were some differences among the 31 Spruances put into service between 1975 and 1983, but all were unusual ships, too big to be a traditional destroyer, too small to be a cruiser. The last Spruance was decommissioned in 2005.

The Spruances were so large that, when it was decided to build a new class of cruisers (the Ticonderogas), the Spruance design was simply lengthened and filled out a bit to produce a 10,000 ton ship (only 11 percent larger than the Spruance.) During World War II, cruisers tended to be 2-3 times the size of destroyers, and displace about 10,000 tons. That size had been considered optimal for cruisers for several generations.

There also a number of problems with operating a Spruance. Nothing major, but they all added up. Foreign navies, when looking at a free Spruance, noted all of these things, and turned down the offer. For most navies, the Spruances were simply too big, troublesome and expensive to operate.

There was, however, a variant on the Spruances, the Kidd class, that Taiwan was willing to take. In late 2005, Taiwan took delivery of two of the four Kidd-Class destroyers, and renamed them Keelung and Suao. Displacing 9,700 tons and with a length of 563 feet, these destroyers are armed with two SM2 MR surface-to-air missile launchers, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, ASROC anti-submarine missiles, Mk46 anti-submarine weapons, two 5inch naval guns, two 20mm Phalanx anti-missile guns, and a flight deck for up to two helicopters.

The Kidd class were originally ordered by Iran in the late 1970s. But while still under construction, there was an Iranian revolution, which lead to the new Islamic Republic. That got the orders canceled. The U.S. Navy acquired these ships, leading to their nickname 'the Ayatollah Class'. These destroyers are actually cruisers, in terms of size and weapons and equipment carried. Like the following Ticonderoga Class AEGIS cruisers, the Kidds were built on a modified Spruance hull, and the class was originally designed for the littoral conditions of the Persian Gulf. While the Kidds lack the VLS missile systems of most recently modified Spruance class ships, they were outfitted with better anti-aircraft capabilities. This was what appealed to the Taiwanese, who face Chinese ships and aircraft in the Taiwan Straits.

The average Spruance had two five inch guns, a 61 cell VLS (vertical launch system) for launching Tomahawk and anti-aircraft missiles. There are also eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles, six anti-submarine torpedoes and two 20mm anti-missile gun systems. There are also two anti-submarine helicopters and radar and sonar systems.

The Burke Class, which first entered service in 1991, and is still under construction, has more anti-air capability (because of its Aegis radar system), than the Spruance, and is cheaper and easier to operate, even though it is about the same size in terms of displacement and crew.
They are old now too...I remember "ohing and ahing" at one in 1979 when we were alongside in San Diego...they are not that much younger than our 280s
I am surprised countries like Peru, Chile, Turkey and Egypt have not expressed interest.
Ummm....no they generally explore urban myths like "will a quarter dropped from the Empire State Buiding go through a car"....
Oh, I know that, but they'll find a way to make it blow up, they always do!


I don't really think the Mythbusters will get one of those ships.  The above was just an attempt at humor which clearly failed.
Ex-Dragoon said:
I am surprised countries like Peru, Chile, Turkey and Egypt have not expressed interest.
Very high operating costs on these things, that seems to be the reason that they are hard to get rid of.  At least from what I've heard.  My 2 cents.
Pte. Pukepail said:
Oh, I know that, but they'll find a way to make it blow up, they always do!


I don't really think the Mythbusters will get one of those ships.  The above was just an attempt at humor which clearly failed.

Let me put this tactfully.  STAY IN YOUR LANE!  If you can't contribute something constructive to the discusion, then please don't contribute anything.  Your attempt at humour didn't wash.
I chuckled at your Myth buster comment.
As for staying in his lane, well humor I guess falls on deaf ears some times. An not really a straying issue. But to each their own.

As for this discussion since you are the expert, why is the US getting rid of these ships and why is no one else taking them. A full back report would be appreciated. Of course a full and complete list of all your sources, along with emails and phone numbers of all involved would be necessary so as to be able to back up your writings and for further searches by others.

I am going to apologize for my sarcasm used above in the second part of my reply.

I am also going to add that I still see no need to jump all over a person for the comments made above for the injected bit of humor. If everything is totally serious all the time then things would be boring. 
If his post is bad in any way, leads a stray,  then the admins need to privately talk to the person then delete the replies made.
Then if all else fails ban the person or persons involved.

Free site means free ideas and free personality's. Everyone contributes in their own way.
I am a little surprised that Tiawan wasn't all over this. The ships are very similar to the ones that they did take, and a visit to the dry dock would allow the Taiwanese Navy to add whatever AA or other systems that they desired. This would also have been hideous news for the Chinese and perhaps the DPRK, a sizable fleet of modern warships with considerable striking power patrolling the straights of Tiawan and just off the littoral waters of East Asia.

The SPRUANCE DD was expensive to operate for many reasons, one may have been the design was very unusual in order to attempt "assembly line" production, while another was the ship was designed during one of the various turning points in the Cold War; the cruiser like size is partially a reflection of the then Naval strategy of operating far forward against the former USSR (beyond the Greenland -Iceland -UK gap and into the Barents sea if possible), where having a cruiser in action would be handy.
      I am by no means a naval expert  but wouldn't this be ideal for the Canadian Navy ?    Why couldn't we replace the  280 with the Spruance  class.  If we got 4 Spruance that where made in the 80's they would be newer vessels  than the 280 and you would think that they would last till we could get a replacements in service .  I am mostly just curious about weather or not we could do this .  Thanks for any feed back
I'm guessing it's cost of upkeep/maintenance that's preventing a lot of potentially buyers from aquiring these ships.  You spend x-billion dollars buying however many, then on top of that you have to standardize all of the equipment so it functions with whatever indigenous equipment they want (not so difficult for the NATO countries probably, maybe a little more difficult for non-NATO countries).  Then we're talking millions of dollars on spare parts, munitions, also have to consider the training of the crew on how to both service and use the ships  Logistically, it's probably just not feasible for other countries to want these ships, especially Canada since there seems to be a trend of low military spending here.
Nothing wrong with trying to inject a little humour here and there. we all know intent rarely comes across as intended in some of these cases.

We also have a large and experienced Mod staff here, to watch for anomalies and spikes out of the norm. That is their job.

Members have the recourse of using the Report to Moderator button if they think something is amiss. We will look at it and decide if action is warranted.

Members should not take it upon themselves to berate and discipline other posters. In other words, if your not a Mod, "Stay In Your Own Lane" and leave the Mod duties to the Mods.

The next person that tries to Mod another poster without authority, may well find him/ herself getting acquainted with the Warning System.
I seem to recall that we were offerd Kidd Class DDs as a replacement for the 280s some time ago.  If I recall the urban legend correctly, we turned them down because refits etc would have been done in Norfolk, not in Canada. Im not sure what our 280s cost to run annually, but Im sure its a lot, especially as they near their end.