In 1960, the US Navy commissioned its first purpose-built guided missile destroyer, Charles F. Adams. Built on a hull enlarged from the Forrest Sherman design, 23 Charles F. Adams-class ships (DDGs 2–24) were commissioned over the next four years while three more went to both Austrialia (designated DDGs 25–27) and Germany (DDGs 28–30).
Later in the sixties, four Forrest Shermans were converted as DDGs 31–34 and twelve Mitscher-, Farragut- and Coontz-class frigates were converted as DDGs 35–46 (the Farraguts and Coontzes having first been designated DLGs).
In 1975, a new class of destroyer appeared. The Spruances were built as anti-submarine ships but with the addition of vertical launch systems (VLS) in the eighties, they became multi-mission ships. They operated at first with Ticonderoga-class cruisers, which utilized the same hull and introduced the Aegis combat system, and later with Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyers, which eventually supplanted them even while many remained in top condition.
Despite serving as guided missile destroyers, the Spruances were never classified as DDGs but carried destroyer hull numbers DD 963–992 and 997, in sequence as a class after the Forrest Shermans. Although four heavier sisters, the Kidd class, were commissioned as DDG 993–996, the next sequence of DDG hull numbers, beginning with DDG 51, were assigned to the Arleigh Burkes.