:: USS LONG BEACH (1959) ::

USS Long Beach missile cruiser (1959) High resolution picture

The USS Long Beach was an American missile cruiser launched in 1959; sole exponent of her class, she is remarkable for being the first surface warship fitted with nuclear propulsion and also the first warship armed entirely with missiles. The initial project provided a missile frigate with a standard displacement of 7920 tonnes armed with one Terrier SAM (Surface-to-Air Missile) launcher. But before being completed the project in 1956 the size of the ship had been doubled and the armament considerably increased. When being completed she had two twin launchers for Terrier SAM in fore position and one twin launcher for Talos SAM astern.

The USS Long Beach was initially projected to carry the Regulus SSM (Surface-to-Surface Missile), a strategic nuclear cruise missile with a range of 840 nautical miles. The conceptual illustration shows the USS Long Beach armed with this missile that was never installed in the ship and painted with a "crazy quilt" camouflage pattern. Being cancelled the Regulus in favor of the Polaris ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile) it was thought to install eight launchers for such missile in the central space. But in the end the Polaris was installed only in submarines, and the USS Long Beach was completed without any surface-to-surface missile and with an ASROC ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) launcher in the central space.

The main superstructure was similar to that originally built for the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, containing the SCANFAR search radars SPS-32 and SPS-33. The mistake of arming the ship exclusively with missiles was soon acknowledged and from 1963 the ship could be seen with two 127-millimeter cannons installed in single mountings amidships, which would allow to counter the threat of low-flying planes and fast patrol boats out of the range of the missiles. The USS Long Beach was completed as an escort cruise to contain the aerial and submarine threat, and to some extent that of surface attacks, for the Talos SAM had a limited surface-to-surface capability.

Class: Long Beach (1 unit - Long Beach (CGN-9))

Type: Missile cruiser

Length: 220 meters

Beam: 22.3 meters

Draught: 9.5 meters

Displacement (normal): 14430 tonnes

Propulsion: 2 x shaft, 2 x steam turbine General Electric, 2 x nuclear reactor Westinghouse C1W 200 megawatt, 80000 horsepower

Speed: 30 knots (55.5 kilometers/hour)

Range: 130000 nautical miles (240760 kilometers) at 20 knots

Complement: 1160

Armament (as built): 1 x Talos SAM/SSM twin launcher, 2 x Terrier SAM twin launcher, 1 x ASROC ASW octuple launcher, 6 x 324-millimeter ASW torpedo tube, 1 x helicopter

Armament (in 1963): 1 x Talos SAM/SSM twin launcher, 2 x Terrier SAM twin launcher, 1 x ASROC ASW octuple launcher, 2 x 127-millimeter 38-caliber cannon, 6 x 324-millimeter ASW torpedo tube, 1 x helicopter

Armament (in 1978): 2 x Harpoon SSM quadruple launcher, 2 x Terrier SAM twin launcher, 1 x ASROC ASW octuple launcher, 2 x 127-millimeter 38-caliber cannon, 6 x 324-millimeter ASW torpedo tube, 1 x helicopter

Armament (in 1985): 2 x Harpoon SSM quadruple launcher, 2 x Standard SM-1ER SAM/SSM twin launcher, 1 x ASROC ASW octuple launcher, 2 x Tomahawk cruise missile quadruple launcher, 2 x 127-millimeter 38-caliber cannon, 2 x Vulcan Phalanx CIWS 20-millimeter cannon, 6 x 324-millimeter ASW torpedo tube, 1 x helicopter



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