These missile destroyers, eventually renamed missile cruisers, derived from the previous large Spruance, but with a difference in size, since they had been fully designed to implement the AEGIS system, which made them the most modern times. In fact, they are also known as the “AEGIS cruisers”. The latter system was originally designed for an anti-aircraft escort frigate, like the future California cruisers. Their design was the result of numerous studies and landmarks from the late 1970s, which resulted in the rejection of Typhoon frigate projects and heavy cruisers of the CSGN type.
Instead, a compromise solution based on the largest destroyer hulls of the time, Spruance, was preferred. The armament, cost, and effectiveness of the USS Tirconderoga, made the entire class redesigned as a class of cruisers (CGs) rather than destroyers. The AEGIS system is based on a highly efficient system of two SPY-1 solid fixed antennas installed in the front superstructure, and comprising 4080 separate phase transformers. The block is powered by its own radio frequency generator, several megawatts. This system is not for long range, but to handle a maximum of echoes and must be relayed by a SPS-49 type of airborne surveillance radar and two SPG-62 target illuminators.
The combined capability of the SM-2 (anti-aircraft and anti-ship) combined with the ability to detect and track multiple all-round targets simultaneously, makes the protection provided by a Ticonderoga much more effective than that of a previous-generation building. Despite the cost of the system, the Ticonderoga class continued with 14 operational buildings in 1990 with famous names (Yorktown, Vincennes, Valley Forge, Thomas S Gates, Buker Hill, Mobile Bay, Antienam, Leyte Gulf, San Jacinto, Lake Champlain, Philippine Sea, Princeton, Normandy, Chancellorsville). Since 1990, 12 others have entered service, the last one, USS Port Royal, in April 1994. They are all currently in active service, forming the spearhead of US naval surface forces alongside class aircraft carriers Nimitz that they escort. They have been engaged in all recent conflicts.
Note: This post is a 15 years old translation and will be updated and expanded quite a lot in the near future.
Triplets at Philadelphia NyD – from USNI.org
These ships are waiting to be broken up and recycled, bearing specific markings.
These are the USS Thomas S. Gates (CG-51), USS Ticonderoga (CG-47), and USS Yorktown (CG-48), spotted at Philadelphia NyD.
The first ships in the US Navy to feature AEGIS, now adopted by a collection of destroyers in many navies, including Japan, Spain, South Korea, Australia, and Norway. Most of the time it was fitted on destroyers, since Frigates seems too small to house it, until recently. Recognisable by a massive structure on top of which was placed the bridge in general, it is only betrayed by a few internal antennae protections on the front and sides of the “box”. AEGIS is, of course, one of the most famous late cold war American integrated naval weapons system, developed by the Missile and Surface Radar Division of RCA, now produced by Lockheed Martin.
It was capable of coordinating the detection of 200 targets simultaneously, including from other ships and either subs, aircraft, missiles or ships, and guiding the appropriate weaponry to targets, or activate ECM and counter-measures. Before that, it needs to be recalled that there was already a failed attempt in 1958, with the Typhon Combat System, but tracking was only possible at any given time by dedicated radars, so few targets. It was theorized in 1970 and the EDM-1 tested on the USS Norton Sound, in 1973.
In fact, after this system was adopted, Soviet saturation attacks planned on American task forces were no longer possible. This was not an acronym but referred as the name of the shield used by the god Zeus in Greek Mythology. It is difficult to believe this system is already 30+ years old: The Ticongeroga class cruisers, yet of the size of the Spruance class DDs of but higher tonnage, were 28 ships delivered from 1981 to 1992. Now superseded by the Arleigh Burke, they are prending disposal and to be broken up in the following years. “Aegis” became almost a brand, sometimes far away from the original concept, and local declinations. The Chinese for example designed a similar system sometimes called the “chinese aegis” by some authors, used by their Type 052C and Type 052D destroyers. Even the Admiral Gorshkov class frigates seems to use a Russian version of it, called the Poliment Redut. It is quite likely that the Russian gargantuan Lider-class project wil use a scaled-up and modernied version of it.
Displacement: 6560t standard, 8910t FL
Dimensions: 171.6 x 16.8 x 9.5 m
Propulsion: 2 propellers, 4 LM2500 gas turbines, 80,000 hp. and 30 knots
Sensors: SPY-1A Radar, SPS-49, 2 SPG-62 Firing Lines, Sonar SQS-53
Armament: 2×2 Standard SM-1 AA / AN / ASM (68 v and 20 ASROC), 2 x 127 mm AA, 2 x 3 TLT 357 mm (12 tons mk32 ASM), 8 Harpoon, 2 helicopters.