The KIDD class were the world's largest destroyers and, after the Aegis-equipped Arleigh Burke class, the most powerful multi-purpose destroyers in the fleet. The four ships of this class, originally designed for sale to the then-friendly Iranian Navy, were unique among US Warships, in that it combined the combat systems capability of the former VIRGINIA-class cruisers with the proven anti-submarine warfare qualities of a SPRUANCE-class destroyer. The four Kidd class guided missile destroyers are similar to the Spruance class destroyers, but have greater displacement and improved combat systems. The ships are built on the same hull as the Spruance destroyers, though without the later's extensive offensive capability.
The four destroyers of the Kidd class were originally built for the Shah of Iran, and were acquired by the US Navy following the Shah's overthrow in 1979. The US Navy acquired them in 1981 and 1982 after they were canceled by the succeeding Iranian government. For this reason they are often referred to as the "Ayatollah class".
Each ship in the class was named after a U.S. Navy Admiral who died in the Pacific during World War II. The lead ship of the class, USS Kidd (DDG 993), was named for Rear Adm. Isaac C. Kidd who was aboard USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor and was the first American flag officer to die in World War II. USS Callaghan (DDG 994) was named after Rear Adm. Daniel Callaghan who was killed in action aboard the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco (CA 38) during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. USS Scott (DDG 995) was named after Rear Adm. Norman Scott who was killed during surface action in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. USS Chandler (DDG 996) was named after Rear Adm. Theodore Chandler, who was killed when his flagship, Louisville (CA-28), came under multiple kamikaze attacks near Manila Bay.
Built for action in the Persian Gulf, these ships are oriented for general purpose operations rather than specialized anti-submarine war. These ships feature advanced air-intake and filtration systems in order to handle dust and sand prevailing in Persian Gulf operating area as well as greater air-conditioning capacity. With the ability to fire surface-to-air missiles in support of Aegis cruisers, which, if necessary, can assume control of the destroyer's missiles. The guided-missile destroyers are outfitted with air-defense radar that allows them to command a wide ocean area. They can also support amphibious landing forces.
KIDD-class armaments include the New Threat Upgrade (NTU) anti-air warfare (AAW) system to improve their anti-air warfare performance against the technologically advanced threat expected into the 21st century, as well as two Mk 26 launchers for Standard surface-to-air missiles, and AN/SQS-53 hull mounted active sonar, ASROC, eight Harpoon surface-to-surface missiles, two five-inch guns and hangar facilities for one Lamps Mk 1 helicopter.
The most formidable warship of her size ever to patrol the world's oceans, blending the best features of the SPRUANCE Class destroyers with the combat system of the VIRGINIA Class nuclear cruisers to produce a ship with unique characteristics:
A ship so quiet, and an ASW system so capable, that she operates offensively against submarines.
The most sophisticated medium-range AAW systems in the Fleet, quick-reacting and highly accurate, with the capability for today's air defense environment and the growth potential for tomorrow's.
An exceptionally reliable and responsive engineering plant.
A deadly surface-to-surface weapons capability.
These characteristics make KIDD a triple-threat, one of the few truly multi-mission ships, able to operate offensively, to deal with simultaneous air, surface, and sub-surface attacks.
KIDD's propulsion system is an automated, gas turbine installation, which can be controlled from either the Pilot House or the Central Control Station. The system is located in two main engine rooms, each containing two LM-2500 marine gas turbines. The two LM-2500s are coupled through clutches and locked train, double helical, double reduction gears to drive a controllable, reversible pitch propeller. With all four turbines on line and both shafts driving, the plant can deliver 80,000 shaft horsepower, for a top speed in excess of 30 knots.
KIDD's combat system is her complement of weapons and electronics subsystems and equipment, which collectively enables her to carry out combat missions.
AAW: Anti-Air Warfare
The ship is obviously derived from the Spruance class vessels, the main difference being the mounting of two twin-arm launchers for SAMs, as opposed to the ASW equipment of the Spruances. There are only two directors fitted on the ship to illuminate for the SAMs, which means that whilst the Kidds can fire off missiles at the same rate as the early Ticonderogas, they can only engage half the number of targets. However, to redress this, the SPG-60 director for the 5" guns may instead be used as a third SAM illumination radar.
In air engagements, initial target detection is usually provided by the long-range air search radar. This is a three- dimensional, electronically-stabilized, computer-controlled radar, which includes an Automatic Detection and Tracking (ADT) capability. Target data is transferred, automatically or manually, to the computer of the Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS). NTDS is the heart of the combat system, tying together the various subsystems, collecting and processing information from ship sensors, and from off-ship sensors, via radio digital data links. From NTDS, air targets are sent to one of the following weapons for engagement:
For long-range engagements, to Combat Air Patrol (CAP) aircraft.
For medium-range engagements, to either of the TARTAR D Missile Systems.
For short-range engagements, to either of the Gun Weapon Systems.
For very close-in engagements, to the Vulcan-Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS). The CIWS consists of two mounts (port and starboard), each consisting of a fire control system and a Gatling- type machine gun. The CIWS automatically searches for, acquires, and destroys air targets at close range.
ASW: Anti-Submarine Warfare
The primary ASW sensors are the ship-mounted SONAR and a variety of sensors carried by ASW aircraft. The KIDD's long-range SONAR is capable of detecting, classifying and tracking underwater targets. Data from the SONAR is provided to the Underwater Fire Control System (UFCS) and to NTDS for display and decision. The UFCS computes orders for launching torpedoes from the torpedo tubes, for firing Anti-Submarine Rocket (ASROC) torpedoes from the missiles launcher, and for weapon release points for ASW aircraft. The ship can carry two Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) Helicopters. These provide an extended localization and weapon delivery capability in ASW, and expanded surveillance against anti-ship missile threats.
ASU: Anti-Surface Warfare
The surface search radar, and the radar of the Gun Fire Control System, are the primary active sensors for surface surveillance and detection. Surface targets can be engaged by one of the following subsystems:
Harpoon Surface-to-Surface Missiles are capable of over-the-horizon attacks on surface targets. The Harpoon Weapon System consists of two sets of four-canister launchers, and a fire control system for designating targets to the missiles.
The TARTAR D System, used in the surface mode, is capable of medium-range attacks on surface targets.
The Gun Weapon System can engage targets at shorter range. Controlled by the Gun Fire Control System (GFCS), the 5" guns can engage one or two targets out to the ballistic limits of 5" ammunition.
Against very close-in surface targets, the CIWS can be fired in surface mode.
ELW: Electronic Warfare
The ship's Electronic Warfare Sensor is designated as an anti-ship missile defense sensor. It provides rapid and automatic detection, processing, and analysis of enemy electronic emissions. It is used with four deck-mounted Super Rapid-Blooming Off-board Chaff (SRBOC) mortar-type launchers, which provide defense against homing missiles by creating deceptive chaff targets.
KIDD has a modern, automated communications system. For Fleet Broadcast Traffic, the Naval Modular Automated Communication System (NAVMACS) A-Plus uses a computer for automated message processing. NAVMACS is joined with a satellite communications transceiver and a satellite receiver to provide high-speed, low- interference information transfer via satellite links. For two-way tactical communications, KIDD carries a full range of modern UHF, VHF, and HF radio equipment.
Despite their formidable combat capabilities, the four units of this class were decommissioned with almost half their service life remaining. At the same time, Ingalls Shipbuilding Inc. in Pascagoula, MS announced an $87 million DoD contract to upgrade the four Kidd-class destroyers, in preparation for sale to a foreign customer. The KIDD and CALLAGHAN were decommissioned in March, after only 17 years in service. The SCOTT was decommissioned in December 1998, and the CHANDLER was prematurely decommissioned in September 1999.
Greece's on-again/off-again plans to purchase the four Kidd-class guided-missile destroyers appeared on with the 01 December 1998 announcement by the US Department of Defense the Government of Greece had requested a possible combined lease/sale arrangement of four KIDD Class Guided Missile Destroyers and related munition items and services. The four ex-US Navy Charles F. Adams (DDG-2)-class destroyers were to be retired from the Hellenic Navy to provide crews for the Kidds. The announcement came at a time when tensions between Greece and Turkey were rising over Cyprus. The deal called for the "hot ship" turnover of one KIDD Class destroyer, "cold ship" transfer reactivations for three KIDD Class destroyers [USS Kidd (DDG-993), USS Callaghan (DDG-994), and USS Scott (DDG-995)] from the US Navy. These ships have been withdrawn from active US Navy service, and are scheduled for transfer under the Security Assistance Program (SAP). In November 1999, Greece finally turned down the US offer of the four Kidd-class destroyers. Initially, it appeared that Greece might order two additional MEKO 200 frigates, stretched to accommodate Mk 41 vertical-launch missile cells, along with a class of four 1,200-ton corvettes. Greece sought instead to purchase a pair of retiring Dutch Kortenaer-class frigates, adding to the six that already serve the Greek Navy.
Taiwan announced in early 2001 that it was seeking to buy the four Kidd-class DDGs, and a price of $732 million was reportedly established. Although the ships will require extensive re-work, they would provide the Republic of China Navy with a significant air-defense capability.
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