Artist Impression in 1956
This great cruiser is probably as famous as the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. in fact, he was the first nuclear-powered ever built. He was also the first American cruiser built after the Second World War. It was studied as a missile frigate project in 1955 and the project evolved. He also shared with the USS Enterprise the radar mass of the SPS-23 radar which earned him his massive superstructure, and had a long-range sonar SQS-23 to the bow associated with the ASROC launcher. The massive weight of the superstructure forced the engineers to heal the stability and raise the bow. Very similar to those of the Enterprise, its C1W reactors were a more modest version, delivering a total of 80,000 hp, enough to give it a speed of 32 knots and more.
USS Long Beach launching a terrier missile in October 1961
The maintenance difficulties of their fixed antenna SPS-32/33 led to their addition in 1968 the SPS-12 of aerial detection. He served in Viet-Nam: In May and June 1968, in the Gulf of Tonkin, he recorded the first two victories of a cruiser of this type against North Vietnamese Migs. His major redesign took place in 1980 in Puget Sound, New York. In 1983 he left without his fixed antennas SPS-32/33, against SPS-48/49, two anti-missile guns installed in place of their Talos fire control radards, said dual carriage replaced by two quadruple ramps of Harpoon missiles . His adaptation to the AEGIS standard was abandoned, as was his conversion to a coastal strike cruiser with a very long 203 mm long gun. It was to be modernized again in 1993 but was set aside in 1994. It remained in its time the most powerful missile cruiser ever built, the only (poor) equivalent possible to the Soviet Kirov.
Author’s illustration of the USS Long Beach
Displacement: 15110t standard, 16600t FL
Dimensions: 219.9 x 22.3 x 7.3 m
Propulsion: 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 2 C1W reactors, 80,000 hp. and 32 knots.
Crew : 1107
Sensors: Radar SPS-32/33, SPG-49, 2 SPW-2 fire lines, 4 SPG-55, Sonar SQS-23
Armament: 1×2 Talos AN (52v), 2×2 Terrier AA (120v), 1 ASROC ASM (20v), 2 x 127mm AA, 2 x 3 TLT 357mm (12 mk32 ASM torpedoes).