About the USS Lassen

A handout photo released by the US Navy dated May 25, 2015 of the guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (front) conducting a trilateral naval exercise with the Turkish and South Korean Navy in support of theater security operations in waters to the south of the Korean Peninsula. PHOTO: EPA

United States Navy destroyer USS Lassen, the ship sent to challenge China's territorial claims over the disputed waters in the South China Sea, belongs to the high-capability Arleigh Burke-class of guided missile destroyers.

They are among the biggest and most powerful that have been built, according to a description on the navy's website.

Arleigh Burke-class ships are currently the only active ones used by the US Navy.

The USS Lassen was commissioned on April 21, 2001 in Tampa, Florida. It was named after navy commander Clyde Everett Lassen, who received a Medal of Honour for his heroism in the Vietnam War.

A Flight IIA variant destroyer like it has a range of 4,400 nautical miles at 20 knots, and costs about US$800 million (S$1.1 billion), according to the US Navy.

The vessel can cruise at a speed of up to 30 knots and measures 155m in length, with a maximum breadth of 18m.

Currently based in Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, the ship's commanding officer is Commander Robert C. Francis, who took command of the vessel in May after becoming its executive officer when he joined in October 2013.

Amid the heightened tensions in the South China Sea, the US Navy will consider installing surface-to-surface missiles in the next two littoral combat ships (LCS) that are to be deployed as part of the navy's massive LCS programme, said a navy spokesman on Monday.

Lieutenant-Commander Megan Shutka told Reuters that the navy was "exploring options" for over-the-horizon surface- to-surface missiles. She did not reveal more details as it was still "in the analysis phase".

Jeremy Lee

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2015, with the headline About the USS Lassen. Subscribe