This week the United States Navy accepted delivery of the newest guided-missile destroyer, the USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118) out of Bath, Main, where it was built at the Bath Iron Works.
The ship is named after Senator Daniel K. Inouye (1924-2012), who represented Hawaii in the U.S. Senate from 1963 until 2012. Senator Inouye was a World War II veteran and hero, of Japanese descent, who fought in Italy and France. For his combat heroism, he was awarded the highest military honor: the Congressional Medal of Honor, as well as the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart with Cluster. In 2013 he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Senator Inouye was a historic champion of our nation’s missile defense and his legacy on missile defense is significant. The Senator created the PMRF (the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii), which is the largest test range for the United States of America. It is the premier Pacific Live Fire, instrumented Test Range supporting all U.S. Military Services. Almost all long-range air, surface, and subsurface weapons testing, as well as many large radar systems testing, are conducted supporting both development and operational proficiency exercises, and tests are evaluated. As an integral part of the Ronald Reagan National Missile Defense Complex, PMRF supports multiple historic tests for Aegis BMD systems, SM-3 intercept tests, THAAD intercept tests, and supports GMD tests. These operations are essential in proving out launch-on-remote, engage-on-remote, and a THAAD deployment for the defense of Hawaii. PMRF is the core in support of the United States Into-Pacific Command elements, and our Pacific Allies who exercise with PMRF regularly. In addition, Senator Inouye and Senator Ted Stevens brought their respective parties with their leadership of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, from 1989 to 2012, in resourcing missile defense. One of the most significant milestones was placing the Ground Midcourse Defense system in Fort Greely, Alaska, for the ICBM defense of the United States, as the placement in Alaska enabled both Alaska and Hawaii to be defended, as well as the lower 48 states.
MDAA was honored to work with Senator Inouye and dedicate with him the Kauai Veteran’s Eternal Memorial and Missile Defense Viewing Site, located at Barking Sands, Pacific Range Missile Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, on June 1, 2010.
The Dan Inouye DDG 118 is a Flight IIA destroyer equipped with Aegis baseline 9C, which provides the most advanced Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability in the world today. Importantly, the version of the Aegis Weapon System in DDG 118 includes the fully-open architecture version that incorporates our most effective ballistic missile defense capability, that integrates the full capability of the new, longer-range and more capable Standard Missile 3 Block IIA (SM-3 Blk IIA) interceptor, recently proven capable of intercepting Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) and demonstrating a very robust Regional BMD capability against IRBMs and MRBMs.
“This highly capable platform will deliver the necessary combat power and proven capacity as the ship joins the world’s greatest Navy.” — Capt. Seth Miller, DDG-51-class program manager, Program Executive Office Ships, on March 9, 2021.
This ship’s acceptance by the Navy and its commissioning into the Indo-Pacific marks an historic moment in our country’s development of security and defense capabilities and capacity; it celebrates the memory of a national hero and a great friend of the cause of homeland defense and the preservation of our unique American way of life.