The USS Stark (FFG-31) is a Perry class guided missile frigate named for Admiral Harold R. Stark, Chief of US Naval Operations during World War II.

During the Iran-Iraq War, the US deployed a task force (including the Stark) to protect Kuwaiti oil tankers. On May 17, 1987, the Stark twice warned off an Iraqi Mirage F-1 fighter jet via radio. They were unconcerned because Iraq was a vague sort of ally at this time. The United States sent aid to the Iraqis during the war – this was before George Bush made Saddam Hussein the whipping boy d’jour during the Gulf War.

But the Mirage was within attack range and launched a missile. When it was spotted, it was too late to activate the automatic defense system. The missile struck, killing 37 crew members. The badly damaged frigate had to be towed to Bahrain for repairs. Saddam called it an "unintentional accident" and the pilot went unpunished.

Captain Glenn Brindel and his chief weapons officer were reprimanded, but not court-martialed, and resigned from the US Navy.


from http://www.spear.navy.mil/ships/ffg31_hp.html:

BUILT BY. . . . . . Todd Pacific Shipyards Corporation, Seattle, Washington
KEEL LAID . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 August 1979
LAUNCHED. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 May 1982
COMMISSIONED. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 October 1982
SPONSOR . . . . Mary Stark Semans, daughter of the late Admiral Harold R. Stark

CHARACTERISTICS

LENGTH 445 Feet
BEAM 45 Feet
DRAFT 24 Feet
DISPLACEMENT 4,100 Tons
CREW 15 Officers, 188 Enlisted

MAXIMUM SPEED
28 Plus Knots

PROPULSION
2 General Electric LM-2500 Gas Turbines (40,000 SHP)
2 360-HP Electric Auxiliary Propulsion Units
1 Controllable-Reversible Pitch Propeller

ELECTRICAL PLANT
4 Detroit-Allison V-16 Diesel Generators

WEAPONS
20MM MK 15 Close-In-Weapons System (CIWS)
MK 13 Guided Missile Launcher with
- Harpoon Anti-Surface Missile
- SM-1 Standard Anti-Aircraft Missile
76MM MK 75 Fully-Automated Rapid-Fire Naval Gun
MK 32 Torpedo Tubes (Two Triple-Tube Mounts) with
- MK 46 Anti-Submarine Torpedo

COMBAT SYSTEMS
AN/SPS-49 Air Search Radar
AN/SPS-55 Surface SearchRadar
MK 92 Fire Control System
AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System
AN/SQS-56 Digital Hull-Mounted SONAR
MK 36 SRBOC Decoy Launching System
AN/SLQ-49 Anti-Missile Decoy System
Naval Tactical Data System
Joint Operation Tactical System

AIRCRAFT
SH-2F Anti-Submarine Warfare Helicopter

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