is an interesting anomaly in Navy history because the four ships of the class
were not built for the US Navy
, but rather that of the Shah of Iran
When the Spruance Class Destroyer was introduced, the Shah was a trusted and well-financed ally in the Persian Gulf, so the USA decided to let his navy buy the most sohisticated destroyer in our inventory at the time. The kicker was, the Shah asked for so many improvements to the base configuration (better helicopters, Electronics, ventilation, and missile systems) it was a better ship than the ones the US Navy had.
The reason the US Navy came to posses them instead of the Revolutionary Iranian government that overthrew the Shah is that the delivery date for the boats was scheduled for several months after the revolution. A Navy much relieved at the timing of the situation took the destroyers now sitting around without an owner.
One of the results of the fact that the ships were so well outfitted (at the time they were among the most powerful for their size in the fleet) is that the US Navy had to establish a new class for the ships, so they created the Kidd Class to set these four destroyers apart from their "cousins" the Spruance Class.
The Ships: http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/ddg-993.htm
The Namesake: http://www.usskidd.com/radmkidd.html