These missile cruisers were the first designed in the USA. They were contemporary with the series of Farragut and Adams missile destroyers. To justify their rank of cruisers (their standard naming was “fleet escort”), they had two Terrier anti-aircraft launchers instead of one. However they eliminated in fact the only versatile gun of the edge, not having any armament said “classic”. In itself, the Leahy were the first cruisers of this new generation dedicated to the guided missile, coexisting for a while with many “classic” cruisers, whose design dates back to the Second World War. However, in the long run, these ships were quickly rendered obsolete and modernized due to constant progress in guidance and sensors. Nine buildings were started between December 1959 and July 1960 and commissioned between August 1962 and May 1964. The class included the Leahy, Harry E Yarnell, Worden, Dale, Richmond K Turner, Gridley, England, Halsey and Reeves.
During the Viet-Nam conflict, these ships were recast to include the NTDS fire management system, the SPG-55B guidance radar coupled with the new SM-1 Standard Launchers, and two pairs of 76mm AA guns. were added. These were removed in the 1970s for the benefit of two quadruple Harpoon missile ramps, giving them the anti-ship capability they lacked. Finally, in the 80s, a second overhaul gave them the SPS49 radar, the CME SQL-32 system, and finally two Phalanx missile guns and two 12.7mm pieces. Arrived at the service limit, they began to be removed between 1993 and 1994. Most have been scrapped since.
Leahy Class missile cruiser – Author’s Illustration
Displacement: Standard 5150t, 7600t FL
Dimensions: 162.5 x 16.3 x 5.8m
Propulsion: 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 4 boilers Babcock & Wilcox/Foster-Wheeler
85,000 hp. and 32 knots.
Crew : 377
Sensors: Radar SPS37, SPS49, 4 lines of fire SPS55, Sonar SQS23
Weaponry: 2 x 2 MMA Terrier (80 v), 1 ASROC ASM (8v), 2 x 2 76 mm AA, 2 x 3 TLT 357 mm side, 12 torpedoes mk32.