These four buildings qualified as wing escorts like the previous California and requalified cruisers en route. The first, USS Virginia, was started in August 1972 and commissioned in 1976, the others, Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas (CGN 39-41), between 1977 and 1980. They were designed as more economical than california, along with the new Spruance destroyers. They were however wider and heavier than the California. They also had two SAM / ASM standard / ASROC anti-melee launchers, with 24 AA missiles at the front and 44 ASROC ASMs at the rear. They had the same 76mm quick-firing skiffs, and returned to the ASM Triple Torpedoes System. They were carrying only one helicopter, and their ASM capabilities remained hampered by their noisy cooling pumps from their D2G reactors.
They were the first to use the new SQS-53A sonar and their associated Mk116 fire control system. Each stop of these buildings to recharge their uranium was to allow them a 10-year service. In the 1980s, they received the new SM-2 missiles, a Kevlar shield, eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles installed in ramps at the front end, and finally, eight Tomahawks installed on their aft deck when the helicopter was removed. In 1990-95, they moved to the NTU system, their abandoned ASROC missiles, the installed SPS-49 and 48A radars, and two Phalanx missile guns. Costly, they were all four disabled, the first in 1993-94 and the other two in 1996-97. They currently have “active reserves”.
Illustration of the Virginia class cruisers
Displacement: 10 300t standard, 11 000t FL
Dimensions: 178.3 x 19.2 x 6.4 m
Propulsion: 2 propellers, 2 turbines, 2 D2G reactors, 60,000 hp. and 32 knots
Sensors: Radar SPS-40, SPS-55, SPG-51, 60, SPQ-9. Sonar SQS-53
Weaponry: 2 x 2 SM-1 standard / ASROC (68 v), 2 x 2 76 mm AA / AM, 2 x 3 TLT 357 mm side, 14 mk32 ASM torpedoes, 1 ASM helicopter