Designed toprotect other vessels deployed in a mission, the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate (FFG) is anadept undersea warfare (USW) platform that provides protection by acting as an anti-submarine warfare combatant. Named after the hero of the naval Battle of Lake Erie, the Oliver Hazard Perry-class FFG was initially designed as a general-purpose escort shipinexpensive enough to be procured in large quantities to replace the aging fleets of World War II-era destroyers and 1960s-era Knox-class frigates.
Equipped with the Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS-III) of manned Sikorsky SH-60/MH-60 Seahawk helicopters, U.S. Navy frigates are utilized in Protection of Shipping (POS) missions, accompanying amphibious expeditionary forces, underway replenishment groups, and merchant convoys.
Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates were the second class of surface ships (after the Spruance-class destroyers) in the U.S. Navy to be powered via gas turbine propulsion. The gas turbine propulsion plant was more automated than other naval propulsion systems at the time and could be centrally monitored and controlled from a remote engineering control center away from the engines. The gas turbine propulsion plants also allowed the ship's speed to be controlled directly from the bridge via a throttle control, a first for the US Navy.
However, since the Perry-class frigate was designed to be inexpensive and cost-efficient, it lacks the multi-mission capability of modern surface combatants when faced with advanced technology threats. Perry-class FFGs were initially integrated with Raytheon’s AN/SLQ-32(V)2 self-defense electronic support measures (ESM) system which provided limited frequency cover. The ESM was upgraded with a jammer after the 1987 incident where Iraqi enemy forces attacked the USS Stark (FFG-31) with two Exocetcruise missiles. FFG-31 survived the attack, demonstrating the resilience of the platform and its ability to withstand considerable damage despite its other shortcomings.
The following are current frigates in service and their respective homeports:
- USS Halyburton (FFG 40), Mayport, FL
- USS McClusky (FFG 41), San Diego, CA
- USS Thach (FFG 43), San Diego, CA
- USS De Wert (FFG 45), Mayport, FL
- USS Rentz (FFG 46), San Diego, CA
- USS Nicholas (FFG 47), Norfolk, VA
- USS Vandegrift (FFG 48), San Diego, CA
- USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49), Mayport, FL
- USS Taylor (FFG 50), Mayport, FL
- USS Gary (FFG 51), San Diego, CAv
- USS Ford (FFG 54), Everett, WA
- USS Elrod (FFG 55), Norfolk, VA
- USS Simpson (FFG 56), Mayport, FL
- USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58), Mayport, FL
- USS Kauffman (FFG 59), Norfolk, VA
- USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60), Everett, WA
- USS Ingraham (FFG 61), Everett, WA
The general characteristics of Oliver Hazard Perry-classfrigates are as follows:
|Builder||General DynamicsBath Iron Works: FFG 7, 8, 11, 13, 15, 16, 21, 24, 26, 29, 32, 34, 36, 39, 42, 45, 47, 49, 50, 53, 55, 56, 58, 59; Todd Shipyards, Seattle: FFG 10, 17, 18, 20, 22, 28, 31, 35, 37, 40, 44, 48, 52, 61; Todd Shipyards, San Pedro, Calif.: FFG 9, 12, 14, 19, 23, 30, 33, 38, 41, 43, 46, 51, 54, 57, 60.|
|Date Deployed||17 December 1977 (Oliver Hazard Perry)|
|Propulsion||Two General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine engines; 1 shaft, 41,000 shaft horsepower total.|
|Length||445 feet (133.5 meters); 453 feet (135.9 meters) with LAMPS III modification.|
|Beam||45 feet (13.5 meters).|
|Displacement||FFGs 36, 38, 40, 41, 43, 47, 52, 56, 59, 60 displace 4,300 long tons full load (4,369 metric tons); all other FFGs displace 4,100 long tons (4,165.80 metric tons) full load.|
|Speed||29 plus knots (33.4+ miles per hour).|
|Crew||17 Officers, 198 Enlisted.|
|Armament||Six MK-46 torpedoes (from two triple mounts); One 76 mm (3-inch)/62 caliber MK 75 rapid fire gun; One Phalanx close-in-weapons system.|
|Aircraft||Two SH-60 (LAMPS III) in FFG 8, 28, 29, 32, 33, 36-61; One SH-2 (Lamps Mk-I) in FFG 9-19, 30, 31.|