The USS Iowa, launched in 1942, was the leading ship of the class, the ultimate series of battleships built for
the United States Navy. The strong points of these large battleships were the high maximum speed,
achieved by installing more propulsion power than in any other contemporary warship but also by the characteristic slender prow,
the excellent antiaircraft armament equipped with the most modern pieces existing then, and the electronic equipment,
which should allow to hit first in an encounter with the enemy. They may be referred as comparatively light compared to
other battleships, but they were also narrower than other battleships, hence the loss in weight and gain in speed.
The service record of these battleships elapsed on the Pacific during the Second World War and the Korean War. After this war they
mostly remained in the reserve, apart from a brief intervention of the New Jersey in 1968 in Vietnam. Following the reactivation
and modernization program, this same ship would also take action in Lebanon in 1982. Finally, the Missouri and Wisconsin took part in the operation Desert Storm in 1991.
In the 1980s, after having been extensively modernized, the battleships of the Iowa class were recommissioned to operate
in the Atlantic and the Pacific to counter the recently expanded Soviet Navy. The modernization program consisted of the suppression
of all the original antiaircraft batteries and some of the 127-millimeter mountings, and the inclusion of four MK 141 quad-cell launchers
for sixteen AGM-84 Harpoon antiship missiles, eight Armored Box Launcher mountings for thirty-two BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles and
four Phalanx CIWS guns for defense against enemy antiship missiles and aircraft.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and because of the high cost of maintaining battleships as part of the active fleet,
these ships were decommissioned again in the early 1990s. All the ships were donated to serve as museum ships. From a symbolic
standpoint, the USS Missouri remains as the most prominent unit because in this ship it was formally ended the Second World War;
after 1999 she remained as museum ship precisely in Pearl Harbor, place where the Second World War started for United States.
Iowa class: 4 units - Iowa (BB-61), Missouri (BB-63), New Jersey (BB-62), Wisconsin (BB-64)
Length: 270.4 meters
Beam: 33 meters
Draught: 11.3 meters
Displacement (standard): 45273 tonnes
Propulsion: 4 x shaft, 4 x steam turbine General Electric/Westinghouse, 8 x boiler Babcock and Wilcox, 212000 horsepower
Speed: 33 knots (61 kilometers/hour)
Range: 18000 nautical miles (33300 kilometers) at 12 knots
Armament: 9 x 406-millimeter 50-caliber cannon, 20 x 127-millimeter 38-caliber cannon, 80 x 40-millimeter cannon,
49 x 20-millimeter cannon, 3 x aircraft
Armor: 41-307 millimeters in belt, 287 millimeters in bulkheads, 38 millimeters in upper deck, 153 millimeters in main deck,
13-16 millimeters in lower deck, 295-439 millimeters in barbettes, 184-495 millimeters in main turrets