A significant number of cruisers left in the Navy of the United States after the Second world war, some of which underwent major upgrades with the installation of a missile, not an obstacle to create new projects. Although in the 1950-ies the existing forces could handle any opponent in virtually any point of the world ocean, to stop the arms race, the United States was not going to. Naturally, the military and shipbuilding industry associated with the production of new weapons had a powerful lobby in government. Shipbuilding projects meant new jobs for the poor and new profits for the rich. And those and others were directly interested in them – at their level.

Ideas on modernization of existing and creation of new cruisers did not stop for a year, but in the middle of 1950-ies the interests of admirals and Industrialists strongly demanded to begin their embodiment in metal. After we described rearrangements of “Baltimore” and “kilindu” sailors swung to a more modern and larger ships. In 1957 was considered the “racemization” and have not found a worthy place in the ranks of the fleet “Assoc”. Huge “large cruisers” could accommodate more than double the “dose” of missiles over heavy. Considered options such as the installation of four PU “Telos”, or even more ambitious with Sparky “talasov” in the bow and stern, the “box” raketo-torpedoes “ASRock” instead of a lofty tower, and four “poscache” for “Tartar” on the sides, instead of anti-aircraft artillery, with ammunition as much as 168 rockets! In another embodiment, the pair “terernym” launchers and their ammunition gave way 20 strategic missiles “Polaris”. The result of the former battle cruiser would be a strange hybrid of a nuclear submarine with ballistic missiles and a fully upgraded version of the “Albany.” Cost such “grace” somewhere at the level of 120 million us dollars: for that time a huge sum, although it is comparable to the cost of restructuring heavy cruisers (85 – 90 million). In its own way economically, if we take into consideration another idea: conversion of the air defense cruisers of the type “Atlanta” in the media, the Terriers threatened to cost 75 million “green” for each unit, while rocket power would be much less than half from all the “orecchini” “Alaska”.

Equally impressive was the project to modernize the largest and strongest heavy cruisers “des Moines”. They were to pile up all kinds of anti-aircraft missiles from two “talasov” in the extremities with a PU over them “Terriers” in the stern, up to four plants for “Tartarus” on the sides instead of the former 127-millimetrovogo. It seems to be more space for the “Asroma”, and torpedo tubes, and even for artillery, which was represented by four 76-mm Sparky in the middle of the hull. Of course, this riot of the imagination rocket scientists led to the appearance on deck of a giant “castles in the air” for pre-flight preparation of missiles, and accommodate numerous and heavy antennas for their guidance. Detailed calculations of stability of the project was not carried out, it is such a futuristic ship would undoubtedly be under threat. To check the stability and failed because of the new trend in the Maritime Ministry the new “mistress”of the oceans.

Indeed, all the most attractive projects of the restructuring at about the same time, there is a very serious competitor in the face of new developments with the use of new technologies. Chief among them was the use of atomic energy to propulsion of ships. The first nuclear submarines made a splash, so they surpassed their predecessors at speed under water, range and autonomy. The temptation to get the as advanced surface ships, of course, not over the admirals. It is clear that very heavy and bulky reactors required a large “box”, ie a new cruiser, the development of which began in 1955.

A new class, not yet existing, were designated CLGN (missile light cruiser with a nuclear facility). It was personally supervised by Admiral Earle Burke, the dashing commander of the troops of the American destroyers, nicknamed the “tridtsatimetrovy Burke” for an addiction to attack at full speed. At first, indeed provided for the establishment of a semi-cruiser, Polosina, warships of moderate size (about 9000 tons), armed with a pair of automatic 127-millimetrovogo nose and the only “Terrier” in the rear. But the price for introducing the fashion of a nuclear reactor appeared to be too high: the ship happened nearly twice and more than twice as expensive than “normal” “Dewey”, who had exactly the same weapons.

Designers, of course, quickly realized that nuclear cruiser may not be small. Their “products” is steadily beginning to “grow fat”. Option “D” has already received two Sparky “Terriers” in the bow and stern, but it was still the same artillery. A decisive step was taken in option “E”: two paired Poo “Terrier” in the nose added a spark “Talos” in the rear. These developments in 1956 and became the basis for the final project, “long beach”, which became the only nuclear cruiser fleet of the United States. However, the number of variants of the project literally off the chart: for lettering (corresponding to significant changes) lacked only the English alphabet – the latter option carried the designation AA-1 following the Z-1.

Nuclear cruiser turned out undoubtedly very original. First of all, catches the eye of his unusual appearance, with a large rectangular superstructure, reminiscent of the cinema of Soviet times, raised to a height of 9-storey “skyscraper”. In its halls were home to numerous positions of control of the ship and its weapons, and the role of “screens”, as if by a strange quirk of the mad architect located on the outer “walls”, played a fixed phased array antenna radar R-32/33 for the first time completely controlled computers. It is curious that such a futuristic “product” was literally an ancient artillery. The fact is that until the last moment it was assumed that “long beach” will be a pure rocket, but the mariners rightly pointed out that his weapon can’t hit anything at distances up to 5 km from the ship! And atomic firstborn urgently installed a pair of 127-millimetrovogo during the Second world war – just in case. Another feature was the sharply different ammo installed in the nose Poo “Terrier”: a spark had 40 missiles, while the other – twice. The reason was in the same lack of space even on such a large ship. Needless to say that the armor he was carrying; the corresponding ideas were considered, but the price of protection was too high, not in the sense of Finance (“long beach” and so “pulled” over 200 million dollars then), but in terms of weight. Failed nuclear cruiser to become a carrier and surface strategic missiles. Failed “Regulus-2” was rejected because of the fact that he “never took place” (development was unsuccessful), but from the quite successful “Polaris” refused because of a change in doctrine. But mine for merchantlink missiles left anyway, to the last significant modernization.

To this important event nuclear missile cruiser had to take part in the fighting. In the summer of 1968 he hit his “talasani” two Vietnamese fighter at the huge for the time distance of 120 km. (At least, the Americans believe these cases are the first successful use of anti-aircraft guided missiles at sea.)

The original “long beach” wanted to “modernize” very thorough, occupying it with a new container system for launching missiles “aegis” and including a “real gun” -developed in 1970-ies a lightweight vosmipolosnoy intended for firing at shore targets. However, in the end, the work was much more modest, two and a half years since the ship was mostly off outdated weapons and equipment. So he lost the launcher for “telosb” (as, of course, and the missiles). Her place in the stern, took containers with cruise missiles “Harpoon”, and “spotlights” of radar guidance was replaced with a 20 mm skorostrel “Vulcan-Phalanx”. Had been brought ashore and the famous phased array adorning the superstructure. A rare case: for compensation of very large masses, are very high, they were replaced with 45-mm armor plates. So the “management theater” had been protected at least from the fire of the guns on Board the enemy aircraft and shrapnel. In the future it was planned to replace the “harpoon” cruise missiles “Tomahawk” in armored containers, but in 1994, the cruiser took in reserve.


In fact, it should be mentioned, “long beach” was the only large us nuclear missile cruiser. The idea was to create a completely “atomized” connections, headed by the aircraft carrier “enterprise”. However, the connection of the two ships looked like something disreputable, and as an accompaniment to them I decided to add that in the beginning of 1960-ies were classified as “ship ocean escort”. In reality, the “Bainbridge” deadweight of 7000 tons was a small cruiser, and this was reflected in the subsequent – from the destroyer URO (“DLG-25”), he became a nuclear cruiser URO (“CGN-25”). You can easily determine how much “cost” of nuclear propulsion system in terms of increase of displacement. The fact that the “Bainbridge” on the armament of the same laying started three years earlier a series of “ocean escorte-cov” type “dashing”. (In Russian literature the name of a famous Admiral and friend of Roosevelt Leahy often transcribed as “Legs”), a displacement of slightly more than 5000 tons, the Americans managed to create a very powerful rocket ship, armed with two Sparky “Terriers” in the bow and stern by the system to launch torpedo-missiles “Asroc”, torpedo tubes for ASW torpedoes, and even a pair of two-gun 76-mm anti-aircraft guns. The ships received names of prominent admirals, is that the last war was not only strong, but quite elegant, at that time, designers have already learned how to do macro-pipes is not as frightening as converted cruisers. Despite the availability of anti-submarine weapons, the main purpose of this “ocean escort” of course remained missile defense. In this sense, the “firepower” of new ships of a special construction was second only to a fully “orecchini” “Albany,” but at a very modest displacement. More elaborate and adapted to the new conditions of the premises and of the vehicle system. Thus, in accordance with the requirements of anti-nuclear protection case had no window, and the add-in “glazed” could only pilothouse. The only drawback is the “dashing” (and most other large ships in those years, new or has just completed refurbishment) has been the rapid obsolescence of electronic equipment, which is accordingly updated in the mid – to-late 1960s. And later finally recognized useless 76 graph paper gave place to equal to the number of containers with anti-ship harpoons. Then the “dashing” were not only completely rocket, but “grown” to cruisers. As “Bain-bridge”, they changed “esinye” designation DLG at cruising СG, of course, without the “nuclear” with the letter N.

Despite the obvious benefits ships with nuclear installation, their high cost and significantly greater displacement with the same combat characteristics made much to think about even the super-rich Americans. The story of lonely “Bainbridge” serial “dashing” was repeated a few years later. Nearly simultaneously in 1962 – 1963, the laying of 9 “polusmerti” type “Belnap” with a traditional turbine installation and its nuclear option – “Tekstina” – in the singular. Judging by the weapons, they can be regarded as a half-step back from its predecessors in the direction of the artillery-rocket “rearrangement”. Place one of the PU missiles occupied the 127-mm automatic installation, in the stern the “normal” “belipo” and in the nose of their nuclear counterpart. However, if you look at the history of their appearance, then this configuration can be considered as undeniable progress. Originally intended to create a much weaker “polyarteritis” ship, missile weapons which was limited to only a single “Tartarus” in the middle of the action, and with ammunition of 12 missiles. However, such a descendant destroyers were supposed to have a powerful sonar and a greater cruising range, which is good could use when hunting for submarines. But in the end managed to settle that in the case of “wicked” with replacement “Tartarus” spark “Terrier”, and with the same PU can be launching of rocket-torpedoes “ASRock” who were in the same cellar, and missiles. Such opportunities have created a greater flexibility in variations of ammunition; critical could be a simultaneous attack from the air and from under water, a probability (very small) wisely ignored.

Two ships of this series, “Sterett” and “Biddle”, had the chance not to have time to become cruisers (which happened in 1975 during the General remap). In 1972, Tonkinsky Bay they were attacked Vietnamese istrebitelej-bombers. According to American data, each shot down a couple MiGs. In any case, the hits they received and managed to cover his ward.

Towards the end of the 1970s newfound cruiser underwent modernization with the replacement of electronic equipment. Some, as in “dashing”, at the same time withdrew 76 graph paper and torpedo tubes and replaced them with containers with “harpoons” and “phalanx” for self-defense. But a later program on installation of “armoured “Tomahawk” could not be implemented in the mid 90-ies of the last century were all excluded from the lists of the fleet.

Did not long survive their “normal” counterparts, and nuclear “Trak-walls.” Again, as in the case of “Bainbridge”, its displacement was much larger, this time almost 3000 m Curious, how did the presence of nuclear power plants: fully load the ship “weighed” only 770 tons more than without any reserves, while the “belipo” this difference reached 2,500 tons. Affected by the presence of nuclear power units (npus) and “appearance”, because now no required no pipe, no macto-pipe, so the antennas had to install two massive lattice structure that resembled those that appeared on the first upgraded from the old cruisers “rocket scientists”. As already mentioned, the armament was completely the same, with the only reshuffle between PU “Terrier”, and the gun mount. The same was and modernization: since the early 1980s, the 76-mm anti-aircraft guns was replaced by a “Harpoon” and then “Traxtime” appeared “Phalanx” and new electronic equipment. In 1995, he sounded the alarm “On the way out!” – nuclear cruiser was taken out of the fleet.

In General, the nuclear program of the United States for surface ships 1960-ies can be considered quite modest. Designers and admirals quickly realized that along with the undoubted benefits in the face of unlimited cruising range and absence of necessity of reception of fuel from such combat units there are drawbacks. First of all, the stumbling block was the cost. In addition, as shown by the experience of construction and operation, their conventional counterparts with a proven steam-turbine plant had almost two times more power and could reach speeds a couple of knots more. (Here, however, there is a certain amount of guile: American sources still do not disclose the full power of his ship’s nuclear reactor and, accordingly, the maximum speed of their carriers. Usually given “around 30 knots” or “over 30 knots”. It is difficult to say whether this is a “cover-up of reserves” or, on the contrary, is hidden.) Anyway, instead of the originally proposed exotic and expensive upgrades of large ships of war and post-war buildings the United States has managed in 60-e years of the XX century to upgrade its cruiser fleet without sudden jerks, a result highly consistent programs for the construction and modernization of mostly “ordinary” units with even unfashionable for several steam-turbine power plants. To undoubted advantages of American ships can be attributed to the attention that was paid to their re-equipment with modern electronics. In particular, all they got – sooner or later – display system tactical data NTDS, which allowed much easier to monitor the rapidly changing situation. Well, nuclear cruisers they’ll be back – in the next decade.

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