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Bath Iron Works sends first Arleigh Burke destroyer since ‘restart’ to sea trials

BATH, Maine — The first Arleigh Burke-class destroyer built at Bath Iron Works since the class was restarted left the shipyard for sea trials Monday.

The DDG 115, the future USS Rafael Peralta, headed down the Kennebec for “alpha trials” to test its hull, mechanical and electrical systems, according to a memo circulated internally at BIW and obtained by the Bangor Daily News.

Shipyard mechanics and specialists will operate the destroyer and test the performance of multiple ship systems and equipment including steering, propulsion, desalination, anchoring and navigation.

“We complete more than 1,000 individual checks of her systems to make sure she is ready to go out and return safely and I am very confident in this ship and these people who have worked on her,” Clint Robbins, director of DDG 51 Ships Completion, said in the memo.

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The DDG 115 was named for U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who was killed in the Battle of Fallujah and posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism.

Peralta, 25, of San Diego was killed in November 2004 while he and other Marines were clearing houses of insurgents. As the insurgents fled, one tossed a grenade that landed next to Peralta, who reached out and pulled the grenade to his body. He absorbed the blast, shielding his fellow Marines who were only feet away.

The $1.5 billion destroyer was christened Oct. 31 and launched the following day. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, it will be homeported in San Diego.

The last Arleigh Burke built at Bath Iron Works, the USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), was delivered to the Navy in September 2012.

The class was restarted in 2010 after the Navy truncated the DDG 1000 “Zumwalt” class of guided missile destroyers at three, all of which were built at BIW.

On Sept. 15, the U.S. Coast Guard announced that BIW had been unsuccessful in its bid to build a new class of offshore patrol cutters.

“This restart ship, Rafael Peralta, and the DDG-51 Program represent the future of shipbuilding for BIW and will be a vital platform for the Navy,” the memo stated.


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