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    Tuesday, June 23, 1970, Under Secretary of the Navy John W. Warner announced that the?

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    Background: Tuesday, June 23, 1970, Under Secretary of the Navy John W. Warner announced that the contract for construction of a new class of 30 multi-purpose destroyers has been awarded to Litton System, Inc.

    The first ship in the new class will be named in honour of the late Admiral Raymond A. Spruance. The SPRUANCE class will be built at the West Bank facility of the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division at Pascagoula, Mississippi; however, more than 60% of the dollar value of each ship will be used to purchase materials and equipments from subcontractors spread over as many as 45 states.

    The contract is a multi-year type with a ceiling price of $2,140 million.

    The Navy has received long and valuable service from its destroyers, from the early days of World War I, through World War II to the present. Many of the ships that served in World War II have been modernized over the years for continued service. Some are now in mothballs, others continue to serve. Further modernization of these older ships is either impractical because of inadequate space and power or because it is not economically advisable due to high costs.

    The SPRUANCE class, the first general purpose destroyer construction program since the late 1950s, will be the backbone of the Navy's destroyer forces in the 1970s and beyond.

    More than half of the Navy's anti-submarine and gunfire capability is carried by the destroyer forces. The primary mission of these new ships is anti-sub-marine warfare including operations as an integral part of Attack Carrier Task Forces. They will also have the capability for shore bombardment and for surface warfare, and will have short range missiles for defense against airborne threats, including enemy missiles. Their effectiveness against submarines is expected to be far greater, particularly at high speeds, than that of current Navy ships due to ship silencing techniques and improved sea-keeping capabilities. The ships will be equipped to operate manned helicopters, which will extend the ship's anti-submarine warfare attack capability and elections warfare detection beyond the horizon.

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