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MITSCHER destroyers (1953 - 1954)


No Name Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comm Fate
DL2, 6.1968- DDG35 Mitscher 313 Bath Iron Wks 3.10.1949 26.1.1952 15.5.1953 stricken 6.1978
DL3, 9.1969- DDG36 John S. McCain 314 Bath Iron Wks 24.10.1949 12.7.1952 12.10.1953 stricken 4.1978
DL4 Willis A. Lee 1620 Bethlehem, Quincy 1.11.1949 26.1.1952 28.9.1954 stricken 5.1972
DL5 Wilkinson 1621 Bethlehem, Quincy 1.2.1950 23.4.1952 29.7.1954 stricken 5.1974

Technical data

Displacement standard, t


Displacement full, t


Length, m

145.1 wl 149.4 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



2 sets geared steam turbines, 4 Foster Wheeler boilers

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts


Fuel, t

oil 740

Endurance, nm(kts)4500 (20)

2 x 1 - 127/54 Mk 42, 2 x 2 - 76/50 Mk 33, 4 x 2 - 20/70 Mk 24, 4 - 533 TT, 2 x 1 - 324 Mk 108 Weapon Alfa ASWRL, 1 DCR

Electronic equipment

DL2, 3: SPS-6, SPS-8A, SPS-10, 2x Mk 25, 2x Mk 35 radars, QHB, SQG-1 sonars, WLR-1, WLR-3, ULQ-6 ECM suites

DL4, 5: SPS-6, SPS-8A, SPS-4, 2x Mk 25, 2x Mk 35 radars, QHB, SQG-1 sonars, WLR-1, WLR-3, ULQ-6 ECM suites


Project history

These four ships, laid down as DD927-930, were originally designated as destroyers, then frigates, in a new category which persisted until 1975. They owed their large size to the requirement for high speed, deeply loaded, in a seaway, and were originally designed in 1944-46 with conventional destroyer batteries, the only major innovation being the 127mm/54 guns in a twin semi-automatic version. However, as the design developed it became clear that fast carrier escorts would require maximum anti-aircraft capability, including not only guns but also fighter-direction equipment (symbolized visually by the heavy stabilized SPS-8 height-finder). For a time, it appeared that the gun battery would consist entirely of the new 76mm/70 twin automatic anti-aircraft guns, which was considered more effective than the new rapid-fire 127mm/54 (itself firing faster than the earlier twin type), but the latter was retained at the personal insistence of Admiral Nimitz, at least partly in view of the inability of the lighter weapon to deal with submarines forced to the surface. In fact the large CIC and the heavy radar were even more important; as early as 1945 it was clear that carrier fighters, controlled by the carrier and by radar-pickets such as Mitschers, would be the primary air defence of the fast carrier task force. Anti-submarine capability was secondary, as the high speed of the task force would in itself guarantee almost complete immunity. For example, in the design of the propellers and of the hull itself, high speed (to keep up with the task force) took priority over silencing. The primary ASW weapon was to be a guided torpedo, fired from a fixed tubes, with a pair of rocket launchers (Weapon Alfa) as back-up.     High speed in a small ship meant a very compact machinery installation. All four were considered experimental, and gave considerable trouble in service, so that Mitscher and John S. McCain had to be reboilered. Indeed, engine trouble was sometimes given as the reason for the early retirement of the class. On trials, Mitscher made 34.84kts on 75,862shp at 4550t.  


mid-1950s, all: - QHB, SQG-1 sonars; + SQS-4 sonar

1957, all: - 2 x 2 - 76/50, 1 x 1 - 324 Mk 108 Weapon Alfa ASWRL, 1 DCR; + 2 x 2 - 76/70 Mk 37

1960, Mitscher, John S. McCain: - 1 x 2 - 76/70, SPS-6 radar, SQS-4 sonar; + helicopter deck and hangar, 1 DASH QH-50 helicopter, SPS-29 radar, SQS-23 sonar

1960, Willis A. Lee, Wilkinson: - 1 x 2 - 76/70, SPS-4, SPS-6 radars, SQS-4 sonar; + helicopter deck and hangar, 1 DASH QH-50 helicopter, SPS-10, SPS-29 radars, SQS-26 sonar

early 1960s, Willis A. Lee, Wilkinson: - 1 x 1 - 324 Mk 108 Weapon Alfa ASWRL

early 1960s, Mitscher: - 1 x 2 - 76/70

1968, Mitscher; 1969, John S. McCain: were converted to guided missile destroyers with armament consisted of 1 x 1 Tartar SAM (40 RIM-24), 1 x 8 ASROC ASuR (16 RUR-5), 2 x 1 - 127/54 Mk 42, 2 x 3 - 324 Mk 32 TT, SPS-37, SPS-48, SPS-10, 2x Mk 25, 2x SPG-51 radars, SQS-23 sonar, WLR-1, WLR-3, ULQ-6 ECM suites

Naval service

No significant events.