The United States Navy saw some big leaps forward over the last year. A total of eight ships were commissioned in 2017, including the first of a new class of nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, an expeditionary support base, and two Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers. That’s an increase from the five commissioned in 2016.
These are the new ships:
8. USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10)
This Independence-class littoral combat ship was commissioned on June 10, 2017. Armed with a 57mm gun, the SeaRAM point-defense system, and some .50-caliber machine guns, this vessel primarily brings speed to the table, but still packs a punch.
7. USS John Finn (DDG 113)
Named after a sailor who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the first of the restarted Arleigh Burke-class destroyers was commissioned on July 15, 2017. The U.S. Navy decided to begin production on this class of vessel after the decision was made to stop the Zumwalt class at three hulls.
6. USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)
This nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the first in her class, entered service on July 22, 2017. This ship was supposed to replace USS Enterprise (CVN 65) in 2015, but was delayed. She is slated to make her first deployment in 2020.
5. USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115)
This destroyer, named for a posthumously awarded Navy Cross recipient from Operation Iraqi Freedom, entered the Navy on July 29, 2017. Funnily enough, the ship with the previous hull number, the future USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), won’t be commissioned until March of 2018.
4. USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3)
The USS Lewis B. Puller was commissioned on Aug. 17, 2017 at Khalifa bin Salman Port in Al Hidd, Bahrain, making it the first U.S. ship to be commissioned in foreign territory. The Lewis B. Puller was slated to be operated by Military Sealift Command, but lawyers ended up requiring the ship be commissioned. This is, essentially, a floating base for SEALs and mine-countermeasures units.
3. USS Washington (SSN 787)
This Virginia-class submarine was commissioned on Oct. 7, 2017 and she has a big legacy to live up to. The last USS Washington (BB 56), a North Carolina-class battleship, is famous for a point-blank slug-fest with HIJMS Kirishima. Only time will tell if SSN 787 will earn the same kind of prestige.
2. USS Portland (LPD 27)
This ship, the 11th San Antonio-class amphibious ship, was delivered to the Navy on Dec. 14, 2017. So technically, its actual commission will be in 2018. While the class was slated to stop, it may continue with the future USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28), which is currently under construction.
1. USS Little Rock (LCS 9)
Commissioned on Dec. 16, 2017, this Freedom-class littoral combat ship will be the fifth vessel of its class to serve in the Navy. Plans call for another 12 Freedom-class vessels to join the Navy.
According to the Navy League, the Navy has ten ships slated for commissioning through the end of next year. Three ships are planned for 2019 so far. New carriers, the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) and the future USS Enterprise (CVN 80), will enter service in 2020 and 2027, respectively.