Surface Forces: April 15, 2003


The 37th of 62 Arleigh Burke class destroyers was commissioned on April 12th. The USS Mason (DDG 87) is a 510 foot long, 9,200 ton warship. Although called a destroyer, that designation is misleading. When the current system of "destroyers" and "cruisers" were first established a century ago, "destroyers" were about a thousand tons and cruisers were from 5-10,000 tons. By World War II, destroyers were 2-3,000 tons and after World War II, destroyers got heavier and heavier. Cruisers also increased in size, but got no heavier than 16-17,000 tons before they became obsolete. Destroyers were getting larger and more capable and gradually replaced cruisers. There are still some warships called cruisers, but they are either older, obsolete ships, or little different from destroyers of about the same size. Thus the Arleigh Burke class will become, if all 62 ships are completed, the largest class of cruiser size ships ever constructed. 


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