These missile cruisers defined as “fleet escorts” (“cruisers” in 1975) were defined from the experiments carried out on USS Truxtun and USS Bainbridge in nuclear propulsion. They were the first of this type in “serial” production. Extremely expensive they used a new generation of reactor, the D2G whose lifetime of the heart was three times longer. Their arrangements required the adoption of a long and massive hull without recess, returning to this standard defined in the thirties. Their armament was much larger than previous cruisers, including two of the new 127 mm Mk42 guns, two launchers of the new standard SAM, and one ASROC.
Their 4 TLT ASMs of 324 mm were lateral and fixed, in the deckhouse. Paradoxically, their large stern did not house a hangar, because at the time of their design the ASM DASH drones were the preferred, although they were not adopted later. They did, however, have a spot hosting a LAMPS helicopter or later a Seahawk, or a Sea King. The California and South Carolina (launched in 1971 and 1972, admitted in 1974-75) were renamed battleships, reflecting their importance within the nomenclature of US navy. They quickly received two quadruple Harpoon missile ramps. Both are currently in reserve since 1998.
California class cruisers – Author’s illustration
Displacement: 10 150t; FL.
Dimensions: 181.70 x 18.6 x 6.3 m
Propulsion: 2 HP turbines, 2 D2G reactors, 2 propellers, 60,000 hp. and 30 knots max.
Embedded electronics: Radars SPS-40, 48, 2 SPG-51, SPG-60, SPQ-9, Sonar SQS-26.
Armament: 2×1 MA Standard SM1 (80), 1 ASROC ASM (24), 2×127 mm DP, 4 TLT ASM 324 mm.