US Navy replacing Spain-based destroyers with newer ones, adding helicopter squadron

The US Navy intends to start replacing its four Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, with newer platforms in 2020, the US 6th Fleet has announced.

The navy did not disclose which ships would be stationed in Spain to replace USS Porter (DDG 78), USS Ross (DDG 71), USS Carney (DDG 64), and USS Donald Cook (DDG 75).

The Flight I and Flight II destroyers are tasked with providing ballistic missile defense protection in the European theater and will likely be replaced with destroyers that feature the upgraded Aegis Baseline 9 combat system, which includes Integrated Air and Missile Defense capability.

In addition to deploying modernized ships, the navy intends to relocate a helicopter maritime strike squadron (HSM) to Rota, Spain, in support of the destroyers, which will enhance the multi-mission roles of these ships.

All four ship rotations are expected to be completed by spring 2022.

Photo: USS Gravely (DDG 107), left, USS Carney (DDG 64) and USS Porter (DDG 78) berth together in Faslane, Scotland, March 30, 2019. Photo: US Navy

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