USS Sterett, CG-31
These missile cruisers, defined as “fleet escorts”, were originally intended to be cheaper versions of the Charles F. Adams destroyers. Their ASM means had to be improved and their range of action to 6000 nautical miles. But eventually the studies led to an even more expensive ship. It was decided to replace the Tartar missile with the less expensive Terrier system on the Leahy hull. Finalization of the design resulted in a combination of the ASROC system and the Terrier, and a 60 Terrier or 40 Terrier drum and 20 ASROC drums combined. The range of this missile was 32 km, its Mach speed 3 and its ceiling 24,000 meters.
She was carrying a classic fragmentation charge of 100 kgs. or a nuclear load of 1 Kt. It was under their name of “fleet escorts” (“cruisers” in 1970) that the ten Belknap were built, the first launched in 1963 and the last admitted on active service in 1967. The Class included the Belknap, J. Daniels, Wainwright, Jouett, Horne, Sterett, William Standley, Fox and Biddle. Another indication of their initial destroyer character was in the US Navy tradition of ship names, states for capital ships, cities for cruisers, and names of officers or various parliamentarians for the destroyers.
USS Josephus Daniels CG-27
These ships also embarked for a while ASM helicopter drones (DASH), and 4 TLT special ASM mk48 at the stern. They were also permanently equipped with the NTDS (Tactical Naval Data Integration System). These buildings knew their baptism of the fire with the viet-nâm: Thus on April 19, 1972 the USS Sterret destroyed a big anti-ship missile North-Vietnamese Styx with the help of one of its Terrier (a world first), and downed two Migs during a combined air/surface attack, demonstrating the effectiveness of NTDS. On 19 July, the USS Biddle dispersed a formation of Mig that attacked by night, destroying two aircraft. They were later modernized, the Wainwright testing the SM2 ER, the Fox testing Tomahawk in 1977, and from 1981 all received two quadruple ramps of Harpoon missiles. On this occasion, they received SPS48 and 49 radars. They were all active in 1990, but were removed from service in 1993-95. Some are still in reserve.
Belknap class illustration by the author
Displacement: 5400t; 7890t PC.
Dimensions: 166.8 x 16.7 x 5.5 m
Propulsion: 2 HP turbines, 4 Babcock boilers, 2 propellers, 85,000 hp. and 32 knots max. 7100 nautical
Embedded Electronics: SPS-43, 48, 2 SPG-55, Sonar SQS-26, NTDS radars.
Armament: 1×2 MMA Terrier SMA-2 / ASROC ASM (60), 1×127 mm DP, 2×76 mm, 2×3 TLT ASM 324 mm.