Destroyers under construction at the Huntington Ingalls shipyard. Courtesy of the ocmpany

The Navy this week ceremoniously laid the keel for the first ship in the third flight of the service’s mainstay Arleigh-Burke class of destroyers.

The future USS Jack H. Lucas, which may be based in San Diego, is the 75th ship in the DDG 51 program. The keel was authenticated at the Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, MS, on Thursday.

The ship will have an upgraded Aegis fire-control radar and computer system, allowing it to track and shoot down ballistic missiles fired from North Korea or other potential enemies.

“This destroyer was named after an American hero, Medal of Honor recipient Jack Lucas, and I am humbled and honored to be here today as we authenticate the keel on his namesake ship,” said Capt. Seth Miller, DDG 51 program manager.

“The Flight III ships will bring increased lethality and warfighting capacity to our warfighters, and today’s milestone is the first of many to come as we work to deliver this highly capable ship to the fleet,” he added.

The Flight III destroyers will be armed with 92 long-range missiles in vertical-launch tubes, two anti-submarine helicopters, a 5-inch deck gun, a Phalanx anti-aircraft canon, and a variety of smaller guns. With a displacement of over 9,000 tons, they are as large as World War II-era cruisers.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.