Frank Knox Class

    Originally built as "Gearing Class" Destroyers, 36 ships of this class were converted from DDs to "FRANK KNOX" class DDRs beginning in January 1945 through 1953 and were fitted with early warning radar to serve as long range-warning picket vessels against aircraft attack. In 1960, all DDR's were to be reconverted back to DD's except the Duncan, Ernest G. Small, Frank Knox, Goodrich, Kenneth D. Baily and Turner; they remained DDRs. These DDRs underwent FRAM II conversions in FY 1960-1961.

    Because of this early warning radar mission and the urgent need for them during WWII, the first of twelve of the "FRANK KNOX" class ships were modified while still incomplete with two vessels being ordered to be modified while still in their "shakedown cruises".  In May 1945, another twelve "GEARINGS" were ordered to be modified as they were completed. These 24 vessels carried the SP radar on a mast forward of the number 2 stack.  With the resulting success of this radar picket destroyer type which saw action at Okinawa, the Navy ordered another twelve GEARINGS be converted in FY 1952 for the task force's protection against the new threat of high speed jet aircraft attack. During this conversion program, all DDR's would have the new SPS-8 radar installed with the antenna located aft of the No. 2 stack on the after superstructure as the antenna was too heavy for the tripod mast to support.  At the same time the original SP radar was replaced with the Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN).

    When FRAM I and II conversions began to occur in 1960, the radar antenna (s) were again displaced; this time they were removed and replaced with new antennas on top of a new main mast forward of the number 1 stack that replaced the original tri-pod mast the ship had originally; this occurred on all 36 vessels of the FRANK KNOX class. On the new main mast was the AN/SPS-10 and AN/SPS-40 radar sweep antennas. On top of the DASH Hangar (except for the 6 remaining DDRs) were installed the new ECM antennas. Of special note, 3 of the remaining DDRs received the very large SPS-30 height finding radar- a radar with a 200+ mile range.


FRAM: The Six DDRs and the DDs Benner, Chevalier, Everett F. Larson and Perkins received FRAM II conversions in fiscal year 1960 and 1961. All the remaining 26 ships received FRAM I reconstructions. All ships received DASH (30), except the DDRs. The FRAM II DDs and DDRs received Variable Depth Sonar (VDS) as well as improved radar and sonar systems. 
    For the FRANK KNOX CLASS: 

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Total cost of FRAM Mk 1 for this Class: $ 200,100,000. 

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Total cost to FRAM Mk 2 this Class: $ 45,000,000. 

Benner, Chevalier, Everett F. Larson and Perkins were reclassified from DDR to DD in 1962 and the others (except the six remaining as DDRs), were reclassified as DD in 1963 and 1964 after FRAM II conversions.

FRANK KNOX CLASS DESTROYERS and RADAR PICKET DESTROYERS

Name of Ship

Hull No.

Type

Builder

Launched

Stricken Date

BENNER
807
DD
Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
20 Nov. 1944
01 Feb. 1974
BORDELON
881
DD
Consolidated Steel, Orange TX
03 Mar. 1945
01 Feb. 1977
CHARLES P. CECIL
835
DD
Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
22 Apr. 1945
01 Oct. 1979
CHEVALIER
805
DD
Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
29 Oct. 1944
02 June 1975
CORRY
817
DD
Consolidated Steel, Orange TX
28 July 1945
27 Feb. 1981
DENNIS J. BUCKLEY
808
DD
Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
20 Dec. 1944
01 July 1973
DUNCAN
874
DDR
Consolidated Steel, Orange TX
27 Oct. 1944
15 Jan. 1971
DYESS
880
DD
Consolidated Steel, Orange TX
26 Jan. 1945
01 Oct. 1979
ERNEST G. SMALL
838
DDR
Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
09 June 1945
13 Nov. 1970
EUGENE A. GREENE
711
DD
Federal Shipbuilding, Newark NJ
18 Mar. 1945
02 June 1975
EVERETT F. LARSON
830
DD
Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
28 Jan. 1945
02 June 1975
FECHTELER
870
DD
Bethlehem, Staten Island, NY
19 Sept. 1945
11 Sept. 1970
FISKE
842
DD
Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
08 Sept. 1945
06 Aug. 1987
FRANK KNOX
742
DDR
Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
17 Sept. 1944
30 Jan. 1971
FURSE
882
DD
Consolidated Steel, Orange TX
09 Mar. 1945
02 June 1975
GOODRICH
831
DDR
Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
25 Feb. 1945
01 Feb. 1974
HANSON
832
DD
Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
11 Mar. 1945
31 Mar. 1973
HAWKINS
873
DD
Consolidated Steel, Orange TX
07 Oct. 1944
01 Oct. 1979
HENRY W. TUCKER
875
DD
Consolidated Steel, Orange TX
08 Nov. 1944
03 Dec. 1973
HERBERT J. THOMAS
833
DD
Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
25 Mar. 1945
01 Feb. 1974
HIGBEE
806
DD
Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
12 Nov. 1944
15 July 1979
KENNETH D. BAILEY
713
DDR
Federal Ship Building & D.D. Co.
17 June 1945
01 Feb. 1974
LEARY
879
DD
Consolidated Steel, Orange TX
20 Jan. 1945
02 June 1975
McKEAN
784
DD
Todd Shipyards, Seattle
31 Mar. 1945
01 Oct. 1981
MYLES C. FOX
829
DD
Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
13 Jan. 1945
01 Oct. 1979
NEWMAN K. PERRY
883
DD
Consolidated Steel, Orange TX
17 Mar. 1945
27 Feb 1981
O'HARE
889
DD
Consolidated Steel, Orange TX
22 June 1945
02 June 1975
PERKINS
877
DD
Consolidated Steel, Orange TX.
07 Dec. 1944
15 Jan. 1973
ROGERS
876
DD
Consolidated Steel, Orange TX.
20 Nov. 1944
01 Oct. 1980
SOUTHERLAND
743
DD
Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
05 Oct. 1944
23 Feb. 1981
STEINAKER
863
DD
Bethlehem Steel, Staten Island NY
13 Feb. 1945
24 Feb. 1982
STICKELL
888
DD
Consolidated Steel, Orange TX
16 June 1945
01 July 1972
TURNER
834
DDR
Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
08 Apr. 1945
26 Sept. 1969
VESOLE
878
DD
Consolidated Steel, Orange TX
29 Dec. 1944
01 Dec. 1976
WILLIAM M. WOOD
715
DD
Federal Shipbuilding, Newark NJ
29 July 1945
01 Dec. 1976
WILLIAM R. RUSH
714
DD
Federal Shipbuilding, Newark NJ
08 July 1945
01 July 1978

FRANK KNOX CLASS DESTROYER SPECIFICATIONS

Displacement:
2,425 tons standard (3,550 tons full load)
Dimensions:
390 1/2 x 41 x 19 feet
Guns:
Originally had 3 qty, TWIN 5 inch/38 caliber MK 12 mod 1 guns installed on MK 38 Gun Mount but post FRAM most ships lost Mt 52 for a 5"/38 cal reloading/practice machine.
Weapons:
MK-112 ASROC launcher and 2 qty, DASH Helicopters (except DDRs) 6 homing torpedo tubes (2 MK 32 Triple Torpedo mounts).
Machinery:
2 Westinghouse turbines coupled to 2 DeLaval locked-train double reduction gears. 2 shafts, 350 RPM, SHP: 60,000 = 34.5 knots
Boilers:
FOUR Babcock & Wilcox working pressure 565 PSI at 850 degrees F
Oil Fuel:
4,647 barrels NSFO and 167 barrels of Diesel Oil = 650 tons
Radius:
At 2,425 tons standard   maximum speed is 34.5 knots with endurance of 6,500 miles at 15 knots
    At 3,479 tons full load    maximum speed is 31.3 knots with endurance of 5,370 miles at 15 knots
Complement:
Allowance: 275 (14 officers, 260 men) Accommodation for 20 officers, 335 men.

    As seen at left, the USS SOUTHERLAND, (DD 743) is undergoing FRAM conversion. Launched October 5 1944, commissioned December 22 1944, SOUTHERLAND was reclassified DDR-743 March 18 1949 when it was converted to a FRANK KNOX class radar picket destroyer , it reverted to DD-743 April 1 1964 after it had received its FRAM I conversion.


   FRAM I included installation of both ASROC, DASH and two-triple torpedo launchers. FRAM-I  required the destroyer to lose one of it's aft twin 5-inch gun mounts for the DASH landing pad and included the rebuilding of the superstructure, installation of the DASH hangar, rehabilitation of the engines and electronics. While FRAM I extended the life of a U.S. Naval destroyer by approximately 8 years, many served past those 8 years and eventually were sold to foreign governments such as Greece, Turkey, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, and Taiwan.

   The fate of USS SOUTHERLAND was not so. It was stricken February 23 1981, converted into a target in 1983 and sunk August 2, 1997.



Below are some special DASH-equipment-On-Ship pictures taken during FRAM of a FRANK KNOX class, Gearing variant Destroyer, the USS STEINAKER.


U.S.S. STEINAKER (DD-863)

   A GEARING class destroyer, she displaced 3460 tons when full, was 390 feet 6 inches long, had 60,000 SHP, General Electric Geared Turbines powering 2 screws to a maximum speed of 36.8 knots. Her crew numbered 336.

    She was laid down by Bethlehem Steel of Staten Island, New York on September 1, 1944, launched February 13, 1945 with commissioning on May 26, 1945. On February 24, 1982, the STEINAKER was both stricken from the Naval register and sold to Mexico. She was subsequently renamed "Netzahualcoyotl" and is still active in the Mexican Navy as of May 1998.

     Above, the Transmitter Control (C-3313 / SRW-4C) as installed on the STEINAKER. The C-3313 control was designed to operate the QH-50 DASH beyond visual contact distances. Controls were provided for three proportional channels and six on-off channels. A fourth channel "Lateral Trim" was available but not used.

Above is the Deck Control station on the STEINAKER. The item with the "stick" is the Transmitter Control (C-3314/SRW-4C). This control provided the control functions to govern the flight of the QH-50 Drone from lift-off from the deck to 100 yards astern the ship where CIC would take over. Upon return, CIC would release command of the drone and the Deck Controllers would land the aircraft from this station. 


 

Below are some special FRAM "in-progress" pictures of a FRANK KNOX class, Gearing variant Destroyer, the USS STICKELL (DD 888) provided by Ed Zajkowski.

No other picture can adequately demonstrate the totality of the FRAM I RECONSTRUCTION than this picture above of the USS STICKELL (DD 888) at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in early 1963. Note the missing Superstructure!

By October 1963, STICKELL's DASH Hangar shell and landing deck was in place and the Superstructure had been built up.


 

BEFORE and AFTER FRAM

 BEFORE: At left, as seen from the aircraft carrier USS INTREPID (CV-11) in the Mediterranean Sea on 28 August 1961, the USS FURSE (DDR-882), showing its distinctive twin 5"/38 caliber mounts. Before FRAM, DDR's had both fore mounts.

AFTER: At right, as seen on 24 September 1963, after FRAM I reconstruction near the Philadelphia Naval shipyard, now DD-882, FURSE now shows only ONE, twin 5-inch / 32 caliber gun forward mount after FRAM. On Group B variants, the ships kept their more forward 5 inch mount (mount 51), lost the second mount (Mount 52) behind it and kept their aft 5 inch mount (mount 53). In place of mount 52, a practice 5 inch reloading machine was installed with the MK-32 triple torpedo launchers aft of the loader. Group B ships also received greater ASROC and torpedo storage areas next to the port side of the DASH hangar.


 

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