The Arleigh Burke class are among the largest and most powerful destroyers ever built, both larger and more heavily armed than many previous cruisers. (The larger Ticonderoga class were constructed on Spruance Class hullforms, but are designated as cruisers.) The Arleigh Burke class breaks with previous American construction practices, by being built entirely of steel, rather than having a steel hull and aluminum superstructure. (An aluminum mast is used to reduce topweight).
The class is named for Admiral Arleigh "31-Knot" Burke, the most famous destroyer officer of World War II. Admiral Burke was alive when the class leader was commissioned, and his words to the plankowners echo in the class' distinguished service to date:
“This ship is built to fight; you had better know how.”