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Ticonderoga-class cruiser
USS Port Royal (CG-73)
The USS Port Royal (CG-73) in Hawaiian waters in September 2003.
Class overview
Builders: Ingalls Shipbuilding
Bath Iron Works
Operators: United States United States Navy
Preceded by: Virginia-class cruiser
Succeeded by: N/A[N 1]
Built: 1980–1994
In commission: 1983–present
Completed: 27
Active: 22
Laid up: 4
Retired: 5 (CG-47 to 51)
Preserved: 1 donation on hold[1]
General characteristics
Type: Guided-missile cruiser
Displacement: Approx. 9,600 long tons (9,800 t) full load
Length: 567 feet (173 m)
Beam: 55 feet (16.8 meters)
Draft: 34 feet (10.2 meters)
  • 4 × General Electric LM2500 gas turbine engines, 80,000 shaft horsepower (60,000 kW)
  • 2 × controllable-reversible pitch propellers
  • 2 × rudders
Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h; 37.4 mph)
Range: 6,000 nmi (11,000 km) at 20 kn (37 km/h); 3,300 nmi (6,100 km) at 30 kn (56 km/h).
Complement: 33 officers, 27 Chief Petty Officers, and approx. 340 enlisted
Sensors and
processing systems:
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Mark 36 SRBOC
AN/SLQ-25 Nixie

cruiser mark 26

Armor: limited Kevlar splinter protection in critical areas
Aircraft carried: 2 × Sikorsky SH-60B or MH-60R Seahawk LAMPS III helicopters.

The Ticonderoga-class of guided-missile cruisers is a class of warships in the United States Navy, first ordered and authorized in the 1978 fiscal year. The class uses phased-array radar and was originally planned as a class of destroyers. However, the increased combat capability offered by the Aegis combat system and the AN/SPY-1 radar system was used to justify the change of the classification from DDG (guided missile destroyer) to CG (guided-missile cruiser) shortly before the keels were laid down for the Ticonderoga and the Yorktown.

Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers are multirole warships. Their Mk. 41 VLS can launch Tomahawk cruise missiles to strike strategic or tactical targets, or fire long-range antiaircraft Standard Missiles for defense against aircraft or antiship missiles. Their LAMPS III helicopters and sonar systems allow them to perform antisubmarine missions. Ticonderoga-class ships are designed to be elements of carrier battle groups, amphibious assault groups, as well as performing missions such as interdiction or escort.[2]

Of the 27 completed vessels, 19 were built by Ingalls Shipbuilding and eight by Bath Iron Works (BIW). All but one (Thomas S. Gates) of the ships in the class are named for noteworthy events in U.S. military history, and at least twelve; Ticonderoga, Cowpens, Anzio, Yorktown, Valley Forge, Bunker Hill, Antietam, San Jacinto, Lake Champlain, Philippine Sea, Princeton, Monterey, and Vella Gulf; share their names with World War II aircraft carriers.


Shoot down of Iran Air Flight 655

One ship of the class, the USS Vincennes (CG-49), became infamous in 1988 when she shot down Iran Air Flight 655, resulting in 290 civilian deaths. The commanding officer of the USS Vincennes, William C. Rogers III, had believed the airliner was an Iranian Air Force F-14 Tomcat fighter jet on an attack vector, based on reports of radar returns, revealed to be misinterpreted. The investigation report recommended that the AEGIS large screen display be changed to allow the display of altitude information on plots, and that stress factors on personnel using AEGIS be studied.[3]

Interception of United States satellite USA-193

On 14 February 2008, the United States Department of Defense announced that the USS Shiloh (CG-67) and USS Lake Erie (CG-70) would attempt to hit the dead satellite USA-193 over the North Pacific Ocean just before it would burn up on reentry.[4][5] On 20 February 2008, at approximately 22:30 EST (21 Feb, 03:30 UTC), an SM-3 missile was fired from the Lake Erie and struck the satellite. The military intended that the missile's kinetic energy would rupture the hydrazine fuel tank allowing the toxic fuel to be consumed during re-entry.[6] The Department of Defense confirmed that the fuel tank had been directly hit by the missile.[7]

Possible early retirement

Due to Budget Control Act of 2011 requirements to cut the Defense Budget for FY2013 and subsequent years, plans are being considered to decommission some of the Ticonderoga-class cruisers.[8] For the U.S. Defense 2013 Budget Proposal, the U.S. Navy is to decommission seven cruisers early in fiscal years 2013 and 2014.[9]

Because of these retirements, the U.S. Navy is expected to fall short of its requirement for 94 missile defense cruisers and destroyers beginning in FY 2025 and continuing past the end of the 30-year planning period. While this is a new requirement as of 2011, and the U.S. Navy has historically never had so many large missile-armed surface combatants, the relative success of the AEGIS ballistic missile defense system has shifted this national security requirement onto the U.S. Navy.[10] Critics have charged that the early retirement of these cruisers will leave the Navy's ship fleet too small for the nation's defense tasks as the U.S. enacts a policy of "pivot" to the Western Pacific, a predominantly maritime theater. The U.S. House has passed a budget bill to require that these cruisers instead be refitted to handle the missile defense role.[11]

By October 2012, the U.S. Navy had decided not to retire four of the cruisers early in order to maintain the size of the fleet. Four Ticonderoga-class cruisers, plus 21 Arleigh Burke–class destroyers, are scheduled to be equipped to be capable of antiballistic missile and antisatellite operations.[12]


Ticonderoga–class cruisers were built on the same hull as the Spruance-class destroyer.

The Ticonderoga-class cruiser's design was based on that of the Spruance-class destroyer.[2] The Ticonderoga–class introduced a new generation of guided missile warships based on the AEGIS phased array radar that is capable of simultaneously scanning for threats, tracking targets, and guiding missiles to interception. When they were designed, they had the most powerful electronic warfare equipment in the U.S. Navy, as well as the most advanced underwater surveillance system. These ships were one of the first classes of warships to be built in modules, rather than being assembled from the bottom up.[2]

Operations research was used to study manpower requirements on the Ticonderoga class. It was found that four officers and 44 enlisted sailors could be removed from the ship's complement by removing traditional posts that had been made obsolete.[2]

Vertical Launching System

An overhead view of the Ticonderoga-class USS Lake Champlain (CG-57), with VLS visible fore and aft as the gray boxes near the bow and stern of the ship.

The older USS Ticonderoga (CG-47) with the pre-VLS twin-arm launchers visible fore and aft.

In addition to the added radar capability, the Ticonderoga-class ships subsequently built after the USS Thomas S. Gates included two Mark 41 Vertical Launching Systems (VLS). The two VLS allow the ship to have 122 missile storage and launching tubes that can carry a wide variety of missiles, including the Tomahawk cruise missile, Standard surface-to-air missile, Evolved Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile, and ASROC antisubmarine warfare (ASW) guided rockets. More importantly, the VLS enables all missiles to be on full stand-by at any given time, shortening the warship's response time before firing. The original five ships (Ticonderoga, Yorktown, Vincennes, Valley Forge, and Thomas S. Gates) had Mark 26 twin-arm launchers that limited their missile capacity to a total of 88 missiles, and that could not fire the Tomahawk missile. After the end of the Cold War, the lower capabilities of the original five warships limited them to duties close to the home waters of the United States. These ship's cluttered superstructure, inherited from the Spruance-class destroyers, required two of their external radar units to be mounted on a special pallet on the portside aft corner of the superstructure, with the other two mounted on the forward starboard corner. The later AEGIS warships, designed from-the-keel-up to carry the SPY-1 radars, have them all clustered together. The high weight of these warships - about 1,500 tons heavier than the Spruance-class, resulted in a highly-stressed hull and some structural problems in early service, which were generally corrected in the late 1980s and mid-1990s. Several ships had superstructure cracks which had to be repaired.


Originally, the U.S. Navy had intended to replace its fleet of Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers with cruisers produced as part of the CG(X) missile cruiser program; however, severe budget cuts from the 21st century surface combatant program coupled with the increasing cost of the Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer program resulted in the CG(X) program being canceled. The Ticonderoga-class cruisers will instead be replaced by Flight III Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers.[13]

All five of the twin-arm (Mk-26) cruisers have been decommissioned. In 2003, the newer 22 of the 27 ships (CG-52 to CG-73) in the class were upgraded to keep them combat-relevant, giving the ships a service life of 35 years each.[14] In the years leading up to their decommissioning, the five twin-arm ships had been assigned primarily home-waters duties, acting as command ships for destroyer squadrons assigned to the eastern Pacific and western Atlantic areas.

As of July 2013, 12 cruisers have completed hull, mechanical, and electrical (HM&E) upgrades. 8 cruisers have had combat systems upgrades. These include an upgrade of the AEGIS computing infrastructure with the SPQ-9B radar system, incorporating computing technology, fiber optics, and software upgrades, and modifications to the vertical launch system to fire the RIM-162 ESSM. Another upgrade is improving the SQQ-89A(V)15 sonar with a multi-function towed array. Hull, sonar, radar, electrical, computer, and weapons systems upgrades can cost up to $250 million per ship.[15]

Ships in class

 Name   Number   Builder   Launched   Commissioned   Decommissioned   Status   Link 
Mark-26 Twin-Arm Launcher Variant
Ticonderoga CG-47 Ingalls Shipbuilding 25 April 1981 22 January 1983 30 September 2004 Stricken, available for donation as a museum and memorial [2]
Yorktown CG-48 Ingalls Shipbuilding 17 January 1983 4 July 1984 10 December 2004 Stricken, to be disposed of [3]
Vincennes CG-49 Ingalls Shipbuilding 14 January 1984 6 July 1985 29 June 2005 Stricken, scrapped Nov. 2010-Apr. 2011 [4]
Valley Forge CG-50 Ingalls Shipbuilding 23 June 1984 18 January 1986 30 August 2004 Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise, sunk in a target practice [5]
Thomas S. Gates CG-51 Bath Iron Works 14 December 1985 22 August 1987 16 December 2005 Stricken, to be disposed of [6]
 Name   Number   Builder   Launched   Commissioned   Home port   Status   Link 
Mark-41 Vertical Launch System Variant
Bunker Hill CG-52 Ingalls Shipbuilding 11 March 1985 20 September 1986 San Diego, California in active service, as of 2022 [7]
Mobile Bay CG-53 Ingalls Shipbuilding 22 August 1985 21 February 1987 San Diego, California in active service, as of 2022 [8]
Antietam CG-54 Ingalls Shipbuilding 14 February 1986 6 June 1987 Yokosuka, Japan in active service, as of 2022 [9]
Leyte Gulf CG-55 Ingalls Shipbuilding 20 June 1986 26 September 1987 Norfolk, Virginia in active service, as of 2022 [10]
San Jacinto CG-56 Ingalls Shipbuilding 14 November 1986 23 January 1988 Norfolk, Virginia in active service, as of 2022 [11]
Lake Champlain CG-57 Ingalls Shipbuilding 3 April 1987 12 August 1988 San Diego, California in active service, as of 2022 [12]
Philippine Sea CG-58 Bath Iron Works 12 July 1987 18 March 1989 Mayport, Florida in active service, as of 2022 [13]
Princeton CG-59 Ingalls Shipbuilding 2 October 1987 11 February 1989 San Diego, California in active service, as of 2022 [14]
Normandy CG-60 Bath Iron Works 19 March 1988 9 December 1989 Norfolk, Virginia in active service, as of 2022 [15]
Monterey CG-61 Bath Iron Works 23 October 1988 16 June 1990 Norfolk, Virginia in active service, as of 2022 [16]
Chancellorsville CG-62 Ingalls Shipbuilding 15 July 1988 4 November 1989 San Diego, California in active service, as of 2022 [17]
Cowpens CG-63 Bath Iron Works 11 March 1989 9 March 1991 San Diego, California in active service, as of 2022 [18]
Gettysburg CG-64 Bath Iron Works 22 July 1989 22 June 1991 Mayport, Florida in active service, as of 2022 [19]
Chosin CG-65 Ingalls Shipbuilding 1 September 1989 12 January 1991 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in active service, as of 2022 [20]
Hué City CG-66 Ingalls Shipbuilding 1 June 1990 14 September 1991 Mayport, Florida in active service, as of 2022 [21]
Shiloh CG-67 Bath Iron Works 8 September 1990 18 July 1992 Yokosuka, Japan in active service, as of 2022 [22]
Anzio CG-68 Ingalls Shipbuilding 2 November 1990 2 May 1992 Norfolk, Virginia in active service, as of 2022 [23]
Vicksburg CG-69 Ingalls Shipbuilding 2 August 1991 14 November 1992 Mayport, Florida in active service, as of 2022 [24]
Lake Erie CG-70 Bath Iron Works 13 July 1991 10 May 1993 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in active service, as of 2022 [25]
Cape St. George CG-71 Ingalls Shipbuilding 10 January 1992 12 June 1993 San Diego, California in active service, as of 2022 [26]
Vella Gulf CG-72 Ingalls Shipbuilding 13 June 1992 18 September 1993 Norfolk, Virginia in active service, as of 2022 [27]
Port Royal CG-73 Ingalls Shipbuilding 20 November 1992 4 July 1994 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in active service, as of 2022 [28]

See also


  1. Originally the replacement class for the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers was to come out of the CG(X) development program, however the CG(X) program was cancelled in 2010, and the original mission of the CG(X) cruisers has been taken up by Flight III Arliegh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, leaving this class without a replacement cruiser program.


  1. Ticonderoga (CG 47). US Navy, Naval Vessel Register, 4 January 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3
  3. Fogarty, William M. (28 July 1988). Formal Investigation into the Circumstances Surrounding the Downing of Iran Air Flight 655 on July 3, 1988 (Report). CM-1485-88 / 93-FOI-0184. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  4. "Pentagon plans to shoot down disabled satellite". Reuters. 14 February 2008. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  5. "Officials: U.S. to try to shoot down errant satellite". CNN. 14 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  6. Shanker, Thom (21 February 2008). "Missile Strikes a Spy Satellite Falling From Its Orbit". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  7. "Navy Succeeds In Intercepting Non-Functioning Satellite". NNS. 20 February 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  8. [1]. Navy Times
  9. "Navy budget request avoids deep cuts". Navy Times. 
  10. O'Rourke, Ronald. "CRS-RL32109 Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress." Congressional Research Service, 2 March 2012.
  11. Dutton, Nick. "US Navy: ‘Hollow’ force or ‘the best in the world’?" CNN, May 28, 2012.
  12. American Cruisers Not Allowed To Retire, October 2, 2012
  13. "Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress". Open CRS. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  14. The Ticonderoga (CG 47) - Class
  15. Navy Upgrades More Than a Third of Cruisers -, 9 July 2013

External links

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