PASCAGOULA, Miss. - The future USS Ralph Johnson (DDG
114) was launched at the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard Dec.
The ship was translated from the land level facility to
the drydock which was slowly flooded until the ship was afloat.
"This is an exciting milestone and represents a
significant amount of effort by our Navy and industry team to get the ship to
this point" said Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 class program manager,
Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "We're looking forward to completing
outfitting efforts, undergoing test and trials and delivering another
highly-capable asset to our Fleet."
DDG 51 class ships are integral players in global
maritime security, engaging in air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic
missile defense. Ralph Johnson, a Flight IIA destroyer, will be equipped with
Aegis Baseline 9 which incorporates Integrated Air and Missile Defense and
enhanced Ballistic Missile Defense capabilities. This system delivers quick
reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures
capability for Anti-Air Warfare.
Ralph Johnson will be the 64th Arleigh Burke (DDG 51)
class destroyer, and will be the 30th ship built by the Pascagoula shipyard. In
addition to DDG 114, HII is currently constructing the future Arleigh Burke
class ships, John Finn (DDG 113), Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) and Delbert Black
The ship is named for Marine Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson,
who 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.
As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition
organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and
procurement of all major surface combatants, amphibious ships, special mission
and support ships, and special warfare craft.