One of the United States' most sophisticated warships, the destroyer U.S.S Laboon, sister ship of the U.S.S Cole attacked by terrorists in Yemen last year, yesterday cut short a planned three day visit to Palma. The Arleigh Burke class destroyer is one of the United States' stealth ships because she is undetectable to radar and is fully equipped for nuclear, chemical and biological warfare. The U.S.S Laboon is one of just a handful of US Navy ships to have visited Palma this year for security reasons. The destroyer was scheduled to make a three-day visit to Palma on her way to the Gulf, but naval commanders decided to drop anchor in the Bay of Palma for just a few hours, instead of mooring in the Dique del Oeste because of apparent uncertainties about security and whether the Balearic Port Authority has stepped up security measures in accordance with Pentagon requirements at all ports of call for US ships. For example, Tarragona on the mainland has fully complied with the US requirements and has become the most popular port of call for the Sixth Fleet, which has since turned its back on Palma for security and to some extent local political reasons. The U.S.S Laboon was commissioned in 1995 and a year later, on September 12, was one of the ships involved with the first wave of cruise missile attacks on Iraq, launching Operation Desert Strike. She is armed with eight Harpoon missiles, an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile system. The U.S.S. Laboon also carries Tomahawk Cruise Missiles. The Tomahawks are long range, subsonic missiles used for land attack warfare launched from surface ships and submarines and designed to fly at extremely low altitudes at high speeds. The destroyer is also heading to the Gulf with Vertical Launch ASROC VLA missiles which are quick reaction, all-weather, intermediate range anti-submarine warfare weapons launched from surface ships. She is also armed with the Standard medium-long range shipboard surface -to-air missile, the world's premier surface-to-air missiles which has been fired over a thousand times in the past 20 years. She also carries two Phalanx rapid fire guns, two Mk-45 lightweight guns and two 20mm guns. The Arleigh Burke class is named after the US Navy's most famous destroyer squadron combat commander and three-time Chief of Naval Operations, the first Arleigh Burke. The U.S.S Arleigh Burke was launched in 1991 and was the most powerful combatant ever put to sea. With a maximum speed of 33 knots and a full-load displacement of 8'168.94 metric tons, the U.S.S. Laboon was named in honour of the distinguished career of Captain John Francis Jake Laboon, Chaplain Corps, US Navy who devoted his life to God, Country and the Navy. He was Chaplain to the marines in Vietnam and later became the first Chaplain to the Polaris submarine programme. When he retired in 1979 he was the Fleet Chaplain, Atlantic Fleet.
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