The Oliver Hazard Perry class is a class of frigates named after the American Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the hero of the naval Battle of Lake Erie. Also known as the Perry or FFG-7 class, the warships were designed in the United States in the mid-1970s as general-purpose escort vessels inexpensive enough to be bought in large quantities to replace World War II-era destroyers. They operated in an anti-submarine role to protect amphibious landing forces, supply and replenishment groups, and merchant convoys. Fifty-five ships were built in the United States: 51 for the United States Navy and four for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). In addition, eight were built in the Republic of China (Taiwan), six in Spain, and two in Australia for their navies. Former U.S. Navy warships of this class have been sold or donated to the navies of Bahrain, Egypt, Poland, Pakistan, and Turkey.
Design and construction
The ships were designed by the Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine in partnership with the New York-based naval architects Gibbs & Cox.
The Oliver Hazard Perry-class ships were produced in 445-foot (136 meter) long "short-hull" (Flight I) and 453-foot (138 meter) long "long-hull" (Flight III) variants. The long-hull ships (FFG 8, 28, 29, 32, 33, and 36-61) carry the larger SH-60 Seahawk LAMPS III helicopters, while the short-hulled warships carry the smaller and less-capable SH-2 Seasprite LAMPS I. Aside from the lengths of their hulls, the principal difference between the versions is the location of the aft capstan: on long-hull ships, it sits a step below the level of the flight deck in order to provide clearance for the tail rotor of the longer Seahawk helicopters. The long-hull ships also carry the RAST (Recovery Assist Securing and Traversing) system for the Seahawk, a hook, cable, and winch system that can reel in a Seahawk from a hovering flight, expanding the ship's pitch-and-roll range in which flight operations are permitted. The FFG 8, 29, 32, and 33 were built as "short-hull" warships but were later modified into "long-hull" warships.
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