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Modern Surface Warfare

Adroit Marks the Way for Princeton

"Adroit Marks the Way for Princeton." With the use of hand flares, USS Adroit (MSO-509) marks possible mines in an effort to extract the already damaged USS Princeton (GG-59) from a minefield. USS Beaufort (ATS-2) stands by to assist. Painting by John Charles Roach (92-007-X).

In the early days of the Surface Navy, wooden frigates, propelled by sails, would fire cannon balls at enemy ships in an attempt to either sink or capture the ships on the open seas. The rise of the “New Navy” gave birth to world-wide missions such as the Great White Fleet, convoy operations of World War I, the great carrier battles of World War II, large amphibious landings in Korea, and the United States ability to engage in two simultaneous wars along separate fronts. Advancements in propulsion and weaponry have increased the capabilities of today’s Navy into a force that protects American interests globally. Modern surface warfare conducts a wide variety of missions—from multiple ship classes—including aviation, damage control, and seamanship. More advanced missions include anti-air warfare; amphibious warfare; ballistic-missile defense; visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS); mine warfare; and anti-submarine warfare. 

This page highlights Navy vessels that are equipped with modern propulsion systems such as fuel, nuclear or electric. 


Navy Surface Vessels

Additional Resources

Selected Imagery

USS Wedderburn (DD-684)

USS Wedderburn (DD-684) firing its 5/38 guns at a target drone aircraft, during exercises, 21 August 1964. The ship following astern was USS Porterfield (DD-682) (USN 1107281).

P-3 Orion anti-submarine warfare plane

A P-3 Orion anti-submarine warfare plane, USS Buck (DD-761), and a SH-3 Sea King anti-submarine warfare helicopter participated in an anti-submarine warfare demonstration for the 40th Joint Civilian Orientation Conference off the California coast, 20 April 1970. This conference was held to provide an opportunity for selected civilian leaders, from all walks of life, to visit major military installations (USN 1144053).

A UH-46A Helicopter

During operations in the Pacific, a UH-46A helicopter from Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Three (HC-3) moved supplies from USS Mount Katmai (AE-16) to USS New Jersey (BB-62) (K-54519).

USS Iowa (BB-61)

USS Iowa (BB-61) fired its 16”/50 guns, circa 1943 (NH 45487).

USS Epperson (DDE-719) and USS Sarsfield (DD-837)

USS Epperson (DDE-719), in the foreground, and USS Sarsfield (DD-837) taking part in anti-submarine warfare exercises, 15 June 1950 (NH 98868).

Decommissioned Battleships

Decommissioned battleship USS Iowa (BB-61) at Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Docked to Iowa's starboard was USS Wisconsin (BB-64), another mothball fleet ship (USN 1180429).

Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945

Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur and Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz walked past assembled U.S. naval and military officers for surrender ceremonies, on board USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945 (80-G-332660).

USS Yorktown (CV-10)

USS Yorktown (CV-10) crewman at work on a control board in the carrier's damage control room, 1943 (80-G-K-15346).

Published: Tue Feb 20 13:28:21 EST 2024