ARLINGTON, Va. — The first of seven Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers entered into the Cruiser Modification Program has been returned to the U.S. Navy’s fleet for service.
USS Cowpens went through the modification at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego over the last four years, Capt. Kevin Byrne, the Navy’s program manager for surface ship modernization, said Jan. 15 at the Surface Navy Association symposium here.
Under the modification, the major addition is the Baseline 9A upgrade to the Aegis Combat System with ballistic-missile defense (BMD) capability, along with the addition of the SPQ-9B radar, the Navy Integrated Fire Control capability and the SQQ-89(V)15 anti-submarine warfare system and the Multifunction Towed Array. The ship’s Combat Information Center is revamped, the superstructure is strengthened and provisions for the embarked MH-60R helicopters are included, among other hull, mechanical and electrical improvements.
Also going through modernization are USS Gettysburg at the BAE Systems yard in Norfolk, Virginia, and USS Chosin, which soon will be towed to the Vigor shipyard in Portland, Oregon. USS Cape St. George will follow at Vigor later in 2020, and USS Vicksburg enters the BAE yard in Norfolk this month. USS Hue City is the next to be inducted.
The seven cruisers are part of the 11 that the Navy decided to take out of service for modernization, but the Navy is keeping four in service for the time being to maintain a robust BMD force structure.