The lead ship was USS Rudderow which was launched on 14 October 1943. The ships had General Electric steam turbo-electric drive engines. The ships were built at various shipyards in the United States, including the Philadelphia Navy Yard and Defoe Shipbuilding Company. They were very similar to the Buckley class, having the same hull and machinery. The main differences were the Rudderows had two 5-inch (127 mm) enclosed guns and two twin-40 mm mounts, instead of the three 3-inch (76 mm) open guns and one twin-40 mm or one quad 1.1-inch (28 mm) mount of the Buckleys.