The anti-missile capable destroyer USS Higgins will depart San Diego on Monday for a regularly scheduled independent deployment with the 5th Fleet.
The Higgins is configured for ballistic missile defense and carries the powerful Aegis radar and 1,350-mile-range Standard Missile 3 interceptors. The system is designed to track and shoot down ballistic missiles such as those being developed by Iran and North Korea.
Some 25 of the Navy’s destroyers are configured for a missile-defense role.
The Higgins, which carriers a crew of 330, will operate in the Fifth Fleet area, which covers the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.
While the ship’s primary role is ballistic-missile defense, it can still handle other duties such as maritime interdiction, air defense and multinational exercises.