- 14 August 2009
- Reaction score
For fiscal year 1978, Congress authorized the production of two additional Spruance-class destroyers, though they funded only one. These were intended to be built as helicopter destroyers (DDH), provided they would not cost more than a standard Spruance-class. Litton-Ingalls completed design work for DDH-997, which moved the helicopter deck aft, stretching the length of the hangar and displacing the Sea Sparrow launcher to the top of the hangar. The design would have accommodated two SH-3 Sea Kings or four smaller SH-60 Seahawk or SH-2 Seasprite helicopters. While the prospective DDH-997 probably wouldn't have cost much more to build than a standard Spruance-class, the detail design and engineering work required before the ship could be built would have been substantial (similar work for the Kidd-class cost $110.8 million). This raised the cost of the DDH substantially above a standard Spruance-class destroyer. While this additional cost might have been justified if the DDH was going to enter series production, it was difficult to justify for a single ship. Accordingly the Navy built USS Hayler (DD-997) to the same design as the rest of the class.