The USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51), named for Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, USN (1901–1996), is the lead ship of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers. She was laid down by the Bath Iron Works company at Bath, Maine, on 6 December 1988, and launched on 16 September 1989 by Mrs. Arleigh Burke. The Admiral himself was present at her commissioning ceremony on 4 July 1991, held on the waterfront in downtown Norfolk, Virginia.
The Arleigh Burke's designers incorporated many lessons learned by the Royal Navy during the Falklands campaign and from the USS Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers. The Ticonderoga-class cruisers were supposedly becoming too expensive to continue building, and were supposedly too difficult to upgrade. The Arleigh Burke's design includes what is now better known as stealth technology, which improve the ship's ability to evade and/or destroy anti-ship missiles. Furthermore, her all-steel construction provides good protection for her superstructure, while her Collective Protection System allows her to operate in environments contaminated by chemical, biological, or radiological materials.