Cold War US Navy Destroyers:
Gearing FRAM I
Sumner FRAM II
USS Sampson (DDG-10) underway in 1988
The Destroyers of the class Charles F. Adams succeeded the Forrest Sherman (1953), themselves still modeled on the Gearing of the Second World War. Built in large series (23 units, DDG-2 to DDG-24, the USS Waddell, DDG-24, was launched in February 1962 and accepted in service in 1964.), they retained typical characteristics such as the flush deck, side bulwarks, two funnels, but innovated considerably by being the first to use missiles.
The center of the system was the new MAA Tartar (SAM-1) replacing the rear 127 mm DP turret. This system included a double launcher and a drum below equipped with 40 vectors. This missile, operational in 1962 and dependent on a very specific radar guidance system, had a range of 50 km and a speed of mach 1.8. The second system was ASROC, which was promised a good career, both in the US Navy where it equipped all the escort ships and abroad, and included an 8-tubes launcher placed in the center with a reload for 8 vectors. The missile, with a range of 9 km, a safety distance from the danger of torpedoing by an opposing submarine, carried an ASM charge (tactical head of 10kt) or an acoustic torpedo with a load of 45 kgs.
The Charles F. Adams, classed as “fleet escorts”, a term that highlighted the primacy of the aircraft carrier over the rest of the fleet, had been a technical feat because although they were one meter wider that the Forrest Sherman, and with the same 70,000 hp propulsion unit, still managed to keep their 33 knots top speed thanks to a reduced load. This was made possible by a lighter construction and longer hull for better hydrodynamic penetration. The qualities of these ships were soon recognized and both West Germany and Australia ordered replicas.
However, their light construction and narrow partitioning left little room for extensive extensive modularity, and in fact they were only superficially modernized (improvements in electronics, including the JPTDS computerized tactical management system, CMEs. 32 and multi-purpose fire control Mk.86).
Their Tartar Mk11 / 13 launchers were set up in the 1980s to receive the Harpoon and were fitted as the last linker of the SPS40 and 52 radars. They were removed from active service between 1989 and 1992. In 1990, there were still 21 in activity. Three were sold to Greece in 1992. They are still in use under this flag as of today. Another was transferred to Australia to serve as a spare parts bank.
Author’s illustration of the Charles F Adams
Displacement: 3277t, 4526t PC.
Dimensions: 133.2 x 14.3 x 4.6 m
Propulsion: 2 turbines, 4 HP boilers, 2 propellers, 70,000 hp. and 33 knots max.
On-board electronics: SPS29, 39, 2 SPG51 radars, SQQ23A sonar.
Armament: 2 x 127mm DP guns, 1×2 Tartar SM1 (42), 1 ASROC ASM (16), 2×3 TLT ASM 324mm.