lead ship


The lead ship, name ship, or class leader is the first of a series or
class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an analytical concept used differently f ...
ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, research, and fishing. Ships are generally disti ...

s all constructed according to the same general design. The term is applicable to
naval ship Image:HMAS Darwin (FFG 04).jpg, , an Australian frigate A naval ship is a military ship (or sometimes boat, depending on classification) used by a navy. Naval ships are differentiated from civilian ships by construction and purpose. General ...
s and large civilian vessels.Navy Ship Names: Background for Congress, Ronald O'Rourke, Specialist in Naval Affairs, May 12, 2017
/ref> Large ships are very complex and may take as many as five to ten years to build. Improvements based on experience with building and operating the lead ship are likely to be incorporated into the design or construction of later ships in the class, so it is rare to have vessels that are identical. The second and later ships are often started before the first one is completed, launched and tested. Nevertheless, building copies is still more efficient and cost-effective than building
prototype A prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process. It is a term used in a variety of contexts, including semantics Semantics (from grc, wikt:σημαντικός, σημαντικός ''sēma ...

s, and the lead ship will usually be followed by copies with some improvements rather than radically different versions. The improvements will sometimes be
retrofit Retrofitting is the addition of new technology or features to older systems, for example: * power plant retrofit, improving power plant efficiency, increasing output or reducing emissions * home energy retrofit, the improving of existing buildings ...
ted to the lead ship. Occasionally, the lead ship will be launched and commissioned for shakedown (testing), shakedown testing before following ships are completed, making the lead ship a combination of template and prototype, rather than expending resources on a prototype that will never see actual use.


Ship classes are typically named in one of two ways; echoing the name of the lead ship, such as the s, whose lead ship was , or defining a theme by which vessels in the class are named, as in the Royal Navy's s, named after tribes of the world, such as . If a ship class is produced for another navy, the first active unit will become the lead ship for that navy; for example, the s are known as the in Royal Australian Navy service.



External links

Example of a lead ship announcement from US Navy

Ship types