The Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyer program (DDG 51) represents the largest ship class in the US Navy. The DDG 51 Land Based Engineering Site (LBES) is a test complex that was built to provide & demonstrate a stable level of operational effectiveness and suitability for mobility and support systems during ship construction and fleet introduction of the class. Integrated systems testing on the LBES proved to be paramount in the success of the overall shipbuilding program as technical risks discovered in Philadelphia were able to be solved with a mix of hardware and computer program changes prior to shipbuilder trials or sailaway. This success in risk/cost avoidance also led to program office investment in LBES upgrades such as Flight IIA DDGs, multi-year option class changes, and DDG midlife/modernization changes that are still proving to carry very high cost avoidance and return on investment. LBES has also afforded several indirect benefits such as navy crew training, the genesis of DDG 51 class distant support, and equipment or system vendor ECP testing. Most recently LBES has been used for the navy’s Great Green Fleet R&D proof of concept testing (e.g. biofuel in 2010 and hybrid electric drive in 2011–12). This article will describe the DDG 51 LBES contribution to one of the most successful ship acquisition programs in U.S. naval history.

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