Iowa class battleship

Iowa class battleship

The "Iowa"-class battleships were a class of six fast battleships ordered by the United States Navy in 1939 and 1940 to escort the Fast Carrier Task Forces that would operate in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Four were completed in the early to mid-1940s; two more were laid down, canceled prior to completion, and ultimately scrapped. They comprised the final class of U.S. battleships to be built. [At the time the "Montana" class battleships were being planned, but none of those ships were laid down.]

Built with no regard for cost, the "Iowa" class was arguably the ultimate in the evolution of the capital ship.Johnston and McAuley, p. 11.] [Bonner and Bonner, pp. 54–56.] [Although it is frequently cited as the ultimate battleship class, other battleship classes did outclass the "Iowa"s in certain fields; for example, the Imperial Japanese Navy's sclass|Yamato|battleship had larger guns – convert|46|cm|in|abbr=on – and more armor than the "Iowa"’s.] The ships topped the Military Channel's list of the 10 "most fearsome vessels in the history of naval warfare".cite episode | title = The 10 Greatest Fighting Ships in Military History | network = The Military Channel Web page: [ Top Ten Fighting Ships] Retrieved 23 April 2007.] Yet even as these leviathans entered service, they were being eclipsed by aircraft carriers as the most important naval vessels.

The "Iowa"-class battleships served in every major U.S. war of the mid and latter half of the 20th century. In World War II, they defended aircraft carriers and shelled Japanese positions before being placed in reserve at the end of the war. Recalled for action during the Korean War, the battleships provided artillery support for UN forces fighting against North Korea. In 1968, "New Jersey" was recalled for action in the Vietnam War and shelled Communist targets near the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone. All four were reactivated and armed with missiles during the 1980s as part of the 600-ship Navy. In 1991, "Missouri" and "Wisconsin" fired missiles and convert|16|in|mm|0|adj=on guns at Iraqi targets during the Gulf War. All four battleships were decommissioned in the early 1990s as the Cold War drew to a close, and were initially removed from the Naval Vessel Register; however, at the insistence of the United States Congress, two were reinstated to the Naval Vessel Register for maintenance in the mothball fleet in 1995. These last two battleships were removed from the Naval Vessel Register in 2006.


The "Iowa"-class battleships were shaped by the Battle of Jutland, by naval treaties signed by various countries during the 1920s and 1930s, and by the need to keep up with aircraft carriers and protect them from aerial attack.

During the Battle of Jutland in 1916 three Royal Navy battlecruisers were lost due to inadequate armor protection. As a result of this loss, naval architects for the world's major naval powers set out to improve their naval armor to prevent such a loss from recurring, leading to so-called "Post-Jutland" hull designs with greater armor protection.Davis, p. 1.]

The Washington Naval Treaty was proposed by U.S. Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes and forged during a November 1922 conference attended by Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan. The attending nations agreed to abandon ongoing construction of battleships and battlecruisers, to limit ships to 35,000 tons, to cap armament at convert|16|in|mm|0|adj=on cannons, and to limit replacement tonnage. [cite book | author = United States Department of State | title = Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States: 1922, Vol. 1 | url = | year = 1938 | chapter = PDFlink| [ General] |209 MB | location = Washington, D.C. | publisher = United States Government Printing Office | pages = pp. 247–66 | id = ISSN|1048-6445 | oclc =6699241 | accessdate = 2008-07-24 Additional convenience copy (html format) available online [ here] .] The London Naval Treaty further restricted battleship construction and banned new battleships through 1937. [cite journal | title = Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament | journal = The American Journal of International Law | volume = 25 | issue = 2 | month = April | year = 1931 | pages = pp. 63–82 | publisher = American Society of International Law Convenience copy of the treaty online is available [ here] .] These treaties stopped U.S. construction of battleships and battlecruisers.

At the Second London Naval Conference in 1935, the Empire of Japan denounced the naval treaty and withdrew its delegates. The other conferees agreed that if Japan did not sign the treaty by April 1937, other nations would be free to build guns up to convert|16|in|mm, the maximum size under the Washington Naval Treaty. Tonnage limits would also be relaxed.

That same year (1935), an empirical formula for predicting a ship's maximum speed was developed, based on scale-model studies in flumes of various hull forms and propellers. The formula used the length-to-speed ratio originally developed for 12-meter (39 ft) yachts::mbox{Speed}=sqrt{1.408 imes mbox{waterline lengthand with additional research at the David Taylor Model Basin would later be redefined as::mbox{Capital Ship Speed} = 1.19 imes sqrt{mbox{waterline length.It quickly became apparent that propeller cavitation caused a drop in efficiency at speeds over 30 knots (56 km/h). Propeller design therefore took on new importance. [Davis, pp. 5–6.] [These mathematical formulas still stand today, and have been used to design hulls for U.S. ships and to predict the speed of those hulls for the ships when commissioned, including nuclear powered ships like the U.S. fleet of "Nimitz"-class supercarriers. See Davis, p. 15.]

In 1936, on the heels of the Empire of Japan's withdrawal from the Second London Naval Conference, President Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order creating the Battleship Design Advisory Board (BDAB) and charged the new group with developing new battleship designs, in particular for a 45,000-ton battleship. The board, composed of renowned U.S. naval architects and headed by Captain Allan Chantry, played with various designs for the upcoming U.S. fleet of "North Carolina" and "South Dakota"-class battleships to help lessen the gap between the U.S. based battleships and those being commissioned in Germany and Japan at the time.citeweb | url = | title = BB-61 Iowa-class Design | publisher = | date = 2007-10-09 | accessdate = 2007-11-15 ]

The United States began building the "North Carolina" and "South Dakota"-class battleships in the late 1930s. Designed mostly within treaty limitations, these new battleships could steam at convert|28|kn|km/h|0, fast for a battleship, but not fast enough to keep pace with the aircraft carriers being planned.

Birth of the "Iowa" class

The "Iowa" class, like the "South Dakota" class and "North Carolina" class, began in response to the need for fast escorts for the sclass|Essex|aircraft carriers. Plans for fast battleships that displaced 45,000 tons had been under development since 1935, beginning with a study of the idea of creating an extended "South Dakota" class that would take full advantage of the escalator clause of the Second London Naval Treaty. When the Second Vinson Act was passed by the United States Congress in 1938, the U.S. Navy moved quickly to develop a 45,000-ton battleship that would pass through the 110 ft (34 m) wide Panama Canal. Drawing on the earlier speed equations and a newly developed empirical theorem that related waterline length to maximum beam, the Navy drafted plans for a battleship class with a maximum beam of 108 ft (33 m), which when multiplied by 7.96 produced a waterline length of 860 ft (262 m), permitting a maximum speed of convert|34.9|kn|km/h|1. The Navy also called for the class to have a lengthened forecastle and amid-ship, which would increase speed, and a bulbous bow.Davis, p. 10.]

As with the preceding battleship classes, the "Iowa"-class battleships were "Panamax" ships—built within the size limits required to transition the Panama Canal. The main reason for this was logistical: the largest U.S. shipyards were located on the East Coast of the United States, while the United States had territorial interests in both oceans. Requiring the battleships to fit within the Panama Canal shaved days off the transition time from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean by allowing ships to move through the canal instead of sailing all the way around South America. [Sailing a battleship around South America was unusual, but had been done by the battleship USS|Oregon|BB-3 during the Spanish-American War. See cite DANFS | url = | title = Oregon | accessdate = 2008-07-24 ] [Modern supercarriers face this same problem: they are unable to pass through the canal and must circumnavigate South America to move from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.]

Originally, the ships were to mount the Mark 2 convert|16|in|mm|0|adj=on / 45-caliber gun, which had been intended to arm the battleships and battlecruisers canceled in 1922. But due to a miscommunication between the Bureau of Ordnance and the Bureau of Construction and Repair that left the ship's barbettes too small, the Mark 2 guns were replaced in the design by the new, lighter Mark 7 16-inch/50-caliber gun.DiGiulian, "United States of America 16"/50 (40.6 cm) Mark 7".] The Mark 7 was heavier and had a greater range than the 16"/45 Caliber Mark 6 guns used on the preceding "North Carolina"- and "South Dakota"-class ships. The Mark 7 was originally intended to fire the same convert|2240|lb|kg|abbr=on shell as the 16-in/45-caliber gun, but as the design was being completed a new "super-heavy" convert|2700|lb|kg|abbr=on shell was developed for both guns. However, the "Iowa"'s armor was only designed to resist 2,240 lb (1,016 kg) shells, as adding armor would have pushed the ship's weight over the 45,000-ton limit.

At the time the "Iowa" class had been cleared for construction, the United States Congress had allocated only enough money to construct the first two ships ("Iowa" and "New Jersey"). Congress had not expected the "Iowa" class to be so costly; with a price tag of $125 million per ship, the "Iowa"s were 60% more expensive than the previously authorized battleship classes. [Adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, each individual "Iowa"-class battleship would cost US$1.8 billion in 2008 dollars. The total cost of the four completed ships of the class in 2008 dollars was just under $7.4 billion, but if all six ships of the "Iowa" class been completed the total cost in 2008 dollars would have been $11 billion. This estimation does not take into account the price of the various specialty items that the U.S. Navy would have needed for the battleships. ( [ Calculate Consumer Price Index (CPI) from 1665-2012] ).] Moreover, some policymakers were not sold on the U.S. need for more battleships, and proposed turning the ships into aircraft carriers by retaining the hull design but switching their decks to carry and handle aircraft. [This had already been done on the battlecruisers USS|Lexington|CV-2|2 and USS|Saratoga|CV-3|2.] citeweb | url = | title = BB-61 Iowa-class Aviation Conversion | publisher = | date = 2005-11-27 | accessdate = 2007-05-19 ] cite web | title = Iowa Class (BB-61 through BB-66) Drawings | url = | publisher = Online Library of Selected Images, Naval Historical Center | date = 2005-03-28 | accessdate =2007-11-07] The proposal to build the "Iowas" as aircraft carriers was countered by Admiral Ernest King, the Chief of Naval Operations, [On the issue of redesigning the "Iowa"-class to be aircraft carriers, Admiral Earnest King is quoted as saying "I cannot acquiesce in a complete cessation of BB construction", to President Franklin Roosevelt. See: citeweb | url = | title = BB-61 Iowa-class Design | publisher = | date = 2007-10-09 | accessdate = 2007-11-15 ] and Congress' position on the funding for the "Iowa" class changed after the Fall of France, when Roosevelt demanded that Congress fund a two-ocean navy to meet the threats posed in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Concern over the German invasion prompted Congress to respond by allotting enough money to complete the last four "Iowa"-class battleships ("Missouri", "Wisconsin", "Illinois", and "Kentucky").

Under the direction of Secretary of the Navy Charles Edison, the design was finalized and a contract was signed with the shipyards in July 1939 for the construction of BB-61, BB-62, BB-63, and BB-64 (all "Iowa"-class battleships) along with BB-65 and BB-66, the first two ships of the "Montana" class of battleships. [At the time, the sclass|Montana|battleship|4 was planned to begin with hull number BB-65, but following the success of carrier combat at the Battle of Coral Sea and, to a greater extent, the Battle of Midway, BB-65 and BB-66 were reordered as Iowa class battleships and assigned the names "Illinois" and "Kentucky", respectively. See: cite web | title = Iowa Class (BB-61 through BB-66) Drawings | url = | publisher = Online Library of Selected Images, Naval Historical Center | date = 2005-03-28 | accessdate =2007-11-07] By 1942, however, the United States Navy shifted its building focus from battleships to aircraft carriers after the successes of carrier combat in both the Battle of Coral Sea, and to a greater extent, the Battle of Midway.cite web | title = Bureau of Ships' "Spring Styles" Book # 3 (1939-1944) (Naval Historical Center Lot # S-511): Battleship Preliminary Design Drawings | url = | publisher = Online Library of Selected Images, Naval Historical Center | date = 2005-03-28 | accessdate = 2007-12-01 ] As a result, the construction of the U.S. fleet of sclass|Essex|aircraft carriers had been given the highest priority for completion in the U.S. shipyards by the U.S. Navy.cite journal | last = Minks | first = R. L. | url = | title = Montana class battleships end of the line | journal = Sea Classics | month = September | year = 2006 | location = Canoga Park, California | publisher = Challenge Publications | oclc = 3922521 | accessdate = 2007-12-01 (Convenience copy from [] .)] The "Essex"-class carriers required escorts that could steam with the carriers at a comparable speed, which prompted the U.S. Navy to reorder BB-65 and BB-66 as "Iowa"-class battleships, enabling both battleships to steam at a comparable speed with the "Essex"-class and provide the carriers with the maximum amount of anti-aircraft protection.

ervice history

When brought into service during the final years of World War II, the "Iowa"-class battleships were assigned to operate in the Pacific, primarily to provide anti-aircraft screening for U.S. aircraft carriers and perform shore bombardment. None of the completed "Iowa"-class battleships engaged an enemy capital ship during World War II, although "Iowa" and "New Jersey" did engage enemy surface ships operating in the Pacific Ocean during World War II.cite DANFS | author = Naval Historical Center | title = New Jersey | url = | short = on ] [cite web |url= |title=USS IOWA(BB-61) Detailed History |accessdate=2008-08-09 |work=USS Iowa Veterans Association |publisher=The Veteran's Association of the USS IOWA (BB-61) |date= ] At the end of the war, "Iowa", "New Jersey" and "Wisconsin" were decommissioned and placed in the mothball fleet; [As part of the post World War II drawdown, three of the "Iowa"-class battleships had been de-activated and decommissioned; however, President Truman refused to allow "Missouri" to be decommissioned. Against the advice of Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, Secretary of the Navy John L. Sullivan, and Chief of Naval Operations Louis E. Denfeld, Truman ordered "Missouri" to be maintained with the active fleet partly because of his fondness for the battleship and partly because the battleship had been commissioned by his daughter Margaret Truman. See: cite journal | url= | title = USS "Missouri": Served in World War II and Korean War | last=Stillwell | first=Paul | month = February | year = 1999 | journal = American History | volume = | issue = | pages = | issn = 1076-8866 | id = OCLC|30148811 | accessdate=2007-12-03 cite news | url = | title = Mighty Mo anchors $500,000 donation | last=Adamski | first = Mary | work = Honolulu Star-Bulletin | date = 1998-08-09 | accessdate=2007-06-14 ] construction was halted on the two incomplete ships, "Illinois" and "Kentucky". [Construction on "Illinois" never resumed after this cancellation, but construction work on "Kentucky" was resumed in 1944 and continued until 1947, then resumed again in 1948 and continued until her final cancellation in 1950.]

The "Iowa"s were recalled in 1950 with the outbreak of the Korean War, and provided naval artillery support for U.N. forces for the entire duration of the war before being returned to mothballs in 1955 after hostilities had ceased. In 1968, due in large part to congressional pressure, "New Jersey" was recommissioned and sent to assist U.S. troops during the Vietnam War. She did one tour on the firing line, then was decommissioned the following year.

In the 1980s, the battleships were recommissioned. President Ronald Reagan had vowed to rebuild the U.S. military and create a 600-ship Navy. With the sclass|Des Moines|cruiser|0 heavy cruisers worn out, the relatively low mileage "Iowas" were brought back to fill the offshore bombardment role. The ships also provided a counter to the new Soviet "Orlan"-class large missile cruisers, better known in the West as the "Kirov"-class battlecruisers. [cite news | last = Middleton | first = Drew | title = Pentagon likes budget proposal, but questions specifics | work = The New York Times | date = 1981-03-13 | page = A14 ] [Bishop, p. 80.] [Miller and Miller, p. 114.] Each battleship was modernized to carry electronic warfare suites, CIWS self-defense systems, and missiles. [During this reactivation, the Navy played with various ideas to remove the #3 gun turrets from the battleships and replace them with servicing facilities for 12 AV-8B Harrier STOVL jumpjets. Plans for such a conversion were dropped in 1984. See: citeweb | url = | title = BB-61 Iowa-class Aviation Conversion | publisher = | date = 2005-11-27 | accessdate = 2007-05-19 ] cite web | last = Horan | first = Donald J. | url = | format = PDF | title = Update of the Issues Concerning the Proposed Reactivation of the Iowa class battleships and the Aircraft Carrier Oriskany | date = 1981-04-20 | accessdate = 2005-05-25 | publisher = United States General Accounting Office | pages = pp. 3–18 ] They became the centerpieces of their own battleship battle groups (BBBGs). Their missions in the 1980s and early 1990s included the U.S. intervention in the Lebanese Civil War following the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing and the 1991 Gulf War, first as part of Operation "Desert Shield" and then as part of Operation "Desert Storm". Decommissioned for the last time in the early 1990s, the "Iowa"s were split into two groups: those retained in the United States Navy reserve fleets (better known as the "mothball fleet") and those donated for use as museum ships.

In 1996, the National Defense Authorization Act led "Iowa" and "Missouri" to be struck from the Naval Vessel Register. "Missouri" was donated to the Missouri Memorial Association of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for use as a museum ship. "Iowa" was set to be donated with "Missouri", but was reinstated to the Naval Vessel Register after the Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act of 1999 allowed "New Jersey" to be donated as a museum ship. [cite web | author = 105th Congress | title = Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act of 1999 | url = | format = PDF | date = 1998-10-17 | accessdate = 2007-03-12 | pages = pp. 200–01 ] The last two "Iowa"-class battleships were removed from the mothball fleet in 2006, and are currently awaiting transfer for use as museum ships.cite web | title = Iowa (BB 61) | url = | publisher = Naval Vessel Register, United States Navy| date = 2007-02-26 | accessdate=2007-12-01] cite web | title = Wisconsin (BB 64) | url = | publisher = Naval Vessel Register, United States Navy | date = 2006-03-20 | accessdate=2007-12-01]


The "Iowa"-class ships were built to steam at the same speed as the U.S. fleet of sclass|Essex|aircraft carrier|2s. Their main battery and secondary battery guns were designed to take on the ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, and to shell beachheads in advance of U.S. Army and Marine Corps amphibious assaults. They carried a wide array of anti-aircraft guns to defend themselves and their carriers.

USS "Iowa" (BB-61)

, pending a decision on requests to turn the ship into a museum ship.cite DANFS | author = Naval Historical Center | title = Iowa | url = | short = on ]

USS "New Jersey" (BB-62)

USS|New Jersey|BB-62|2 was ordered 1 July 1939, laid down 16 September 1940, launched 7 December 1942, and commissioned 23 May 1943. "New Jersey" completed fitting out and trained her initial crew in the Western Atlantic and Caribbean before transferring to the Pacific Theatre in advance of the planned assault on the Marshall Islands, where she screened the U.S. fleet of aircraft carriers from enemy air raids. At the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the ship protected carriers with her anti-aircraft guns. "New Jersey" then bombarded Iwo Jima and Okinawa. During the Korean War, the ship pounded targets at Wonsan, Yangyang, and Kansong. Following the ceasefire, "New Jersey" conducted training and operation cruises until she was decommissioned. Recalled for action in 1968, "New Jersey" reported for duty near the Vietnam DMZ, and remained there until 1969, whereupon she was again decommissioned. Reactivated under the 600-ship Navy program, "New Jersey" was sent to Lebanon to protect U.S. interests and U.S. Marines, firing her main guns at Druze and Syrian positions in the Bekaa valley east of Beirut. Decommissioned for the last time 8 February 1991, "New Jersey" was briefly retained on the Naval Vessel Register before being donated to the Home Port Alliance of Camden, New Jersey, for use as a museum ship.cite web | title = New Jersey (BB 62) | url = | publisher = Naval Vessel Register, United States Navy | date = 2002-07-19 | accessdate=2007-12-22]

USS "Missouri" (BB-63)

at Iraqi target and shelling known Iraqi positions along the coast. Decommissioned for the last time in 1992, "Missouri" was donated to the USS "Missouri" Memorial Association (MMA) of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for use as a museum ship in 1999.cite DANFS | author = Naval Historical Center | title = Missouri | url = | short = on ] cite web | title = Missouri (BB 63) | url = | publisher = Naval Vessel Register, United States Navy | date = 2002-07-19 | accessdate=2007-12-22]

USS "Wisconsin" (BB-64)

USS|Wisconsin|BB-64|2 was ordered 12 June 1940, laid down 25 January 1942, launched 7 December 1943, and commissioned 16 April 1944. After trials and initial training in the Chesapeake Bay, "Wisconsin" transferred to the Pacific Fleet in 1944 and assigned to protect the U.S. fleet of aircraft carriers involved in operations in the Philippines until summoned to Iwo Jima to bombard the island in advance of the Marine landings. After the landings on Iwo Jima she turned her attention to Okinawa, bombarding the island in advance of the allied amphibious assault. In mid-1945 "Wisconsin" turned her attention to pounding the Japanese home islands, a job she retained until the surrender of Japan. Reactivated in 1950 for the Korean War, "Wisconsin" served two tours of duty assisting South Korean and UN forces by providing call fire support and shelling targets of opportunity. Decommissioned in 1958, "Wisconsin" was placed in the reserve fleet at the Philadelphia Naval Yard until reactivated in 1986 as part of the 600-ship Navy plan. In 1991, "Wisconsin" participated in the Gulf War by firing Tomahawk Missiles at Iraqi targets and shelling Iraqi troop formations along the coast. Decommissioned for the last time 30 September 1991 "Wisconsin" was placed in the reserve fleet until struck from the Naval Vessel Register 17 March 2006. She is currently berthed in Norfolk, Virginia, pending a formal transfer of the battleship for use as a museum ship.cite DANFS | author = Naval Historical Center | title = Wisconsin | url = | short = on ]

USS "Illinois" (BB-65)

USS|Illinois|BB-65|2 was ordered 9 September 1940 and laid down 15 January 1945. Construction was canceled 11 August 1945 when "Illinois" was 22% complete. She was sold for scrap in September 1958.cite DANFS | author = Naval Historical Center | title = Illinois | url = | short = on ] cite web | title = Illinois (BB 65) | url = | publisher = Naval Vessel Register, United States Navy | date = 2002-07-22 | accessdate=2006-01-17 ] "Illinois"' design called for an all-welded hull, lighter and stronger than the riveted/welded hull of the four completed "Iowa"-class ships. A proposal to redesign the hull with a "Montana"-class type torpedo protection system was rejected.cite web |url= |title=Iowa Class: Armor Protection |accessdate=2007-03-14 |publisher=Iowa Class Preservation Society]

USS "Kentucky" (BB-66)

USS|Kentucky|BB-66|2 was ordered 9 September 1940 and laid down on 6 December 1944. Construction was suspended 17 February 1947 when "Kentucky" was 72% complete. She was informally launched 20 January 1950 to clear a dry-dock for repairs to "Missouri", which had run aground. In 1956, "Kentucky"’s bow was removed and shipped in one piece across Hampton Roads, where it was grafted on the battleship "Wisconsin", which had collided with the destroyer USS|Eaton|DD-510|2. Later, "Kentucky"’s engines were salvaged and installed on the fast combat support ships USS|Sacramento|AOE-1|2 and USS|Camden|AOE-2|2. Nothing came of several proposals to complete "Kentucky" as a guided missile ship.cite web |url= |title=BB-61 Iowa Class |accessdate=2007-03-14 |] Ultimately, "Kentucky" was sold to Boston Metals Co. for scrap on 31 October 1958.cite DANFS | author = Naval Historical Center | title = Kentucky | url = | short = on ] cite web | title = Kentucky (BB 66) | url = | publisher = Naval Vessel Register, United States Navy | date = 2002-07-23 | accessdate=2006-12-17] Like "Illinois," "Kentucky"'s hull was of all-welded construction, lighter and stronger than the other "Iowas," and a proposal to redesign the hull with a "Montana"-class torpedo protection system was rejected.


The "Iowa"-class battleships were among the most heavily armed ships the United States ever put to sea. The main battery of convert|16|in|mm|0|adj=on guns could hit targets nearly 24 miles (39 km) away with a variety of artillery shells, from standard armor piercing rounds to tactical nuclear charges called "Katies" (from "kt" for kiloton). The secondary battery of convert|5|in|mm|0|adj=on guns could hit targets nearly convert|9|mi|km|0 away with solid projectiles or proximity fused shells, and were equally adept in an anti-aircraft role and for damaging smaller ships. When commissioned these battleships carried a wide array of 20 mm and 40 mm anti-aircraft guns, which were gradually replaced with Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles, Phalanx anti-aircraft/anti-missile gatling gun systems, and electronic warfare suites. By the time the last "Iowa"-class battleship was decommissioned in 1992 the "Iowas" had set a new record for battleship weaponry: No other battleship class in history had so many weapons at its disposal for use against an opponent.

Main battery

The primary armament of an "Iowa"-class battleship is nine convert|16|in|mm|0|adj=on / 50-caliber Mark 7 naval guns, [Originally the armament was to be nine 16"/50 Mark 2 Naval Guns intended for the canceled "South Dakota"-class battleships; however, a miscommunication between the design bureaus left the class barbettes too small to fit the Mark 2 guns; so the "Iowa" class was equipped with the Mark 7 Naval Guns instead. See: DiGuilian, "United States of America 16"/50 (40.6 cm) Mark 7".] which are housed in three 3-gun turrets: two forward and one aft in a configuration known as "2-A-1". The guns are convert|66|ft|m long (50 times their convert|16|in|mm|adj=on bore, or 50 calibers, from breechface to muzzle). About convert|43|ft|m protrudes from the gun house. Each gun weighs about 239,000 pounds (108,000 kg) without the breech, or convert|267900|lb|kg with the breech. They fire projectiles weighing from 1,900 to 2,700 pounds (850 to 1,200 kg) at a maximum speed of 2,690 ft/s (820 m/s) up to 24 nautical miles (39 km). At maximum range the projectile spends almost 1½ minutes in flight. The maximum firing rate for each gun on an "Iowa"-class battleship is two rounds per minute.Poyer, pp. 50–53.] When firing two "broadsides" per minute, a single "Iowa"-class battleship can put convert|36000|lb|kg of ordnance on a designated target every minute, a figure that can only be matched by a single B-52 Stratofortress of the United States Air Force. A B-52 can carry up to Convert|60000|lb|kg of bombs, missiles, and mines, or any combination thereof. [cite web | last = Loftin | first = L. K., Jr. | title = Quest for Performance: The Evolution of Modern Aircraft, NASA SP-468 | url = | date = | accessdate = 2008-02-23 ]

RADAR range estimation provided a significant accuracy advantage over earlier ships with optical rangefinders. A United States Navy officer who spent months towing 5- to 27-knot surface targets for various warships during World War II recalled long range practice firing from over the horizon and stated: "The "Iowa"s always fired nine-gun salvos, and the opening one usually straddled the target."Hoskins(September 1983)p.103]

Each gun rests within an armored turret, but only the top of the turret protrudes above the main deck. The turret extends either four decks (Turrets 1 and 3) or five decks (Turret 2) down. The lower spaces contain rooms for handling the projectiles and storing the powder bags used to fire them. Each turret required a crew of between 85 and 110 men to operate. The turrets are not actually attached to the ship, but sit on rollers, which means that if the ship were to capsize the turrets would fall out. [During his investigation of the wreck of the German battleship "Bismarck" oceanographer Robert D. Ballard and his team found four large empty barbettes that had once held the turrets Anton, Bruno, Caesar, and Doris. Ballard noted in his book "Exploring the Bismarck" that, "None of the four big turrets [were] still attached to the ship", each having fallen out when the battleship capsized and sank. cite book |last=Ballard |first=Robert D. |authorlink=Robert Ballard |others=with Rick Archbold |title=Exploring the Bismarck |origyear=1991 |edition=2nd Printing |year=1994 |publisher=Scholastic / Madison Press |location=Italy |isbn=0-590-44269-4 |page=p. 51 |chapter=Exploring the Bismarck] The original cost for each turret was US$1.4 million, but this number does not take into account the cost of the guns themselves.

The turrets are "three-gun", not "triple", because each barrel can be elevated independently; they can also be fired independently. The ship could fire any combination of its guns, including a broadside of all nine. Contrary to myth, the ships do not move noticeably sideways when a broadside is fired. [cite web | last = Landgraff | first = R. A. | coauthors = Locock, Greg; DiGiulian, Tony | title = Do battleships move sideways when they fire? | url = | date = 2006-08-22 | publisher = | accessdate=2008-02-24 ] The guns can be elevated from −5° to +45°, moving at up to 12° per second. The turrets can be rotated about 300° at about four degrees per second and can even be fired back beyond the beam, which is sometimes called "over the shoulder". Within each turret, a red stripe on the wall of the turret, just inches from the railing, would have marked the boundary of the gun's recoil, providing the crew of each gun turret with a visual reference for the minimum safe distance range. [cite web |url= |title=Mark 7 16-inch/50-caliber gun |accessdate=2007-03-12 |publisher=Federation of American Scientists] The guns are never fired directly forward because of the shape of the bow and risk that firing the guns forward would damage the ship; in addition to this concern, a satellite up-link antenna was mounted at the bow of each battleship when they were reactivated in the 1980s.

econdary battery

The secondary battery of the ship consists of convert|5|in|mm|0|adj=on Mark 12 guns in 10 twin mounts, five each to port and starboard, and four Mark 37 Gun Fire Control Systems. These guns were introduced on destroyers in 1934, but by World War II had been installed on nearly every major U.S. warship.cite web | last = DiGiulian | first = Tony | title = United States of America 5"/38 (12.7 cm) Mark 12 | url = | publisher = | date = 2008-03-27 | accessdate = 2008-07-25 ] The secondary battery was intended to fight off aircraft. Its effectiveness soon declined as Japanese airplanes became faster, then rose again toward the end of the war because of an upgrade to the Mark 37 Fire Control System and the proximity-fuzed convert|5|in|mm|sing=on shells. During the 1980s modernization, four twin mounts were removed to make room for missiles, the two farthest aft and the two at mid-ship on each side. In the Gulf War, the secondary battery was largely relegated to shore bombardment and littoral defense.

Anti-aircraft batteries

Since they were designed to escort the U.S. fleet of fast attack aircraft carriers the "Iowa"-class battleships were all outfitted with a wide array of anti-aircraft guns to protect U.S. aircraft carriers from Japanese fighters and dive bombers. [Keegan, p. 264.] [cite web | last = Toppan | first = Andrew | title = World Battleships List: US Treaty and Post-Treaty Battleships | url = | date = 2001-10-06 | accessdate = 2007-06-01 ]

Oerlikon 20 mm anti-aircraft guns

The Oerlikon 20 mm anti-aircraft gun was one of the most heavily produced anti-aircraft guns of World War II; The U.S. alone manufactured a total of 124,735 of these guns. When activated in 1941 these guns replaced the 0.50"/90 (12.7 mm) M2 Browning MG on a one-for-one basis. The Oerlikon 20 mm AA gun remained the primary anti-aircraft weapon of the United States Navy until the introduction of the 40 mm Bofors AA gun in 1943.cite web | last = DiGiulian | first = Tony | title = British, Swiss and USA 20 mm/70 (0.79") Oerlikon Marks 1, 2, 3 and 4 | url = | publisher = | date = 2008-05-14 | accessdate = 2008-07-25 ]

Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft guns

Arguably the best light anti-aircraft weapon of World War II, the 40 mm Bofors AA gun was used on almost every major warship in the US and UK fleet during World War II from about 1943 to 1945. Although a descendant of German and Swedish designs, the Bofors mounts used by the United States Navy during World War II had been heavily "Americanized" to bring the guns up to the standards of the US Navy. This resulted in a gun system set to English standards (now known as the Standard System) with interchangeable ammunition, which simplified the logistics situation for World War II. When coupled with hydraulic couple drives to reduce salt contamination and the Mark 51 director for improved accuracy the Bofors 40 mm gun became a fearsome adversary, accounting for roughly half of all Japanese aircraft shot down between 1 October 1944 and 1 February 1945.cite web | last = DiGiulian | first = Tony | title = Sweden, British, USA, German and Japanese Bofors 40 mm/56 (1.57") Model 1936 | url= | publisher = | date = 2008-05-14 | accessdate = 2008-07-25 ]

Phalanx CIWS

During their modernization in the 1980s each "Iowa"-class battleship was equipped with four of the United States Navy's Phalanx CIWS mounts, two which sat just behind the bridge and two which were fixed to a platform installed between the ship's funnels. "Iowa, New Jersey", and "Missouri" were equipped with the Block 0 version of the Phalanx, while "Wisconsin" received the first operational Block 1 version in 1988.cite web | last = DiGiulian | first = Tony | title = USA 20 mm Phalanx Close-in Weapon System (CIWS) | url= | publisher = | date = 2007-11-02 | accessdate = 2008-07-25 ] Phalanx CIWS mounts were used by "Missouri" and "Wisconsin" during the 1991 Gulf War; "Wisconsin" alone fired 5,200 20 mm Phalanx CIWS rounds.cite web | title = The USS Wisconsin (BB-64) Ship's History | url = | publisher= USS Wisconsin Association | date = 2008-01-08 | accessdate = 2008-07-25 ]


During the modernization in the 1980s, three weapons were added to the "Iowa"-class battleships. The first was the CIWS anti-aircraft/anti-missile system discussed above. The other two were missiles for use against both land and sea targets. At one point, the NATO Sea Sparrow was to be installed on the reactivated battleships; however, it was determined that the system could not withstand the overpressure effects from firing the main battery. [Statement by Admiral Rowden in the "Department of Defense Appropriations for Fiscal Year 1982".]

Tomahawk land attack missile

The BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) entered U.S. service in 1983. A long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile, the Tomahawk could hit targets convert|1350|nmi|km away, more than 40 times farther than the convert|16|in|mm|adj=on guns' convert|24|mi|km|0|adj=on range. [The maximum range for the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile is 1350 nautical miles (nm), the maximum range for the Harpoon is 85 nm, [] and the maximum range for the convert|16|in|mm|0|adj=on guns is roughly 24 nautical miles (nm). cite web|title = USS Missouri (BB-63) Frequently Asked Questions |publisher=Ben M. Schorr, | url = |accessdate=2006-12-16]

Harpoon anti-ship missile

For protection against enemy ships, the "Iowa" class carried Boeing RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles in four Mk 141 shock-hardened quad-cell canister launchers located alongside the aft stack, two launchers per side. At firing, the Harpoon weighs convert|1530|lb|kg, including a booster of about convert|362|lb|kg. The cruising speed is Mach 0.87 and the range is 64 nautical miles (119.5 km) in Range and Bearing Launch mode and 85 nm (157.4 km) in Bearing Only Launch mode.cite web |url= |title=Iowa Class: Missile Battery |accessdate=2007-03-06 |publisher=Iowa Class Preservation Society]

uper Rapid Bloom Offboard Chaff system

During their modernization in the 1980s each of the "Iowa"-class battleships were outfitted with the Mark 36 Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Chaff (SRBOC) system, enabling the "Iowa"s to carry and fire chaff rockets which, when launched from their tubes, release missile decoys or lures. The decoys/lures are intended to act as an anti-missile shield by providing false targets for an enemy missile to attack.cite web | title = MK 36 SRBOC | url = | publisher = Federation of American Scientists | date = 1999-06-30 | accessdate = 2007-06-29 ] During the 1991 Gulf War, chaff was blamed for a friendly fire incident between the "Oliver Hazard Perry"-class frigate USS|Jarrett|FFG-33|2 and the battleship USS|Missouri|BB-63|2: during an Iraqi missile attack "Missouri" fired chaff into the air to confuse the incoming missile; however a Phalanx CIWS mount on "Jarrett" unintentionally engaged the chaff fire by "Missouri". Rounds from the Phalanx mount on "Jarret" struck "Missouri", causing one minor injury to a crewman on the battleship; however, no serious injuries or damage resulted from the attack.cite book | author = Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses | title = Environmental Exposure Report | url = | chapter = Friendly-fire Incidents | chapterurl = | location = Washington, D.C. | publisher = Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, Dept. of Defense | year = 2000 | month = December | oclc = 47168115 | accessdate= 2007-02-25 ]


Aside from its firepower, a battleship's other defining feature is its armor. Battleships are usually armored to withstand an attack from guns the size of their own, but the exact design and placement of the armor—factors inextricably linked with the ship's stability and performance—is a complex science honed over decades.

Unlike modern warships, which operate on the concept of eliminating an incoming threat (anti-ship missiles or enemy aircraft) before the given threat strikes a ship and thus carry lighter armor, the "Iowa"-class was designed and built in an age when ships were expected to withstand an onslaught of naval shells from enemy ships, emplaced coastal defenses from fortified enemy positions near the coast, and the increasing threat of gunfire and armour piercing/incendiary bombs dropped by enemy fighter and bomber aircraft. Like most World War II era battleships, the "Iowa"-class was equipped with class B armor plate designed to a post-Jutland design (the "all or nothing" armor scheme), but unlike earlier WWII-era battleship, the "Iowas" benefited from advances in steel technology that allowed mills to forge the steel at higher temperatures and heat treatment, which produced a much higher-quality, stronger and more elastic armor. The metal was a nickel-steel compound, classified as a stainless steel, that can bend easily and resists corrosion. Most of the armor was manufactured at Bethlehem Steel’s main mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Luken Steel’s Coatesville mill just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The exception was the turret plating, which was forged at a plant built especially for the "Iowas": the Charleston Ordnance Works in Charleston, West Virginia.

The "Iowa"-class battleships' armor can be divided into the part above the waterline, which is designed to protect the ship against gunfire and aerial bombing, and that below the waterline, intended to protect the vessel from mines, near-miss bombs, and torpedoes.

Overall, "Iowa"-class armor is essentially the same as on the earlier "South Dakota"-class battleships. Both have an internal main belt, a change from the previous two sclass|North Carolina|battleship|2s that was reluctantly adopted because it was difficult to install and repair. An external belt that could ward off convert|2700|lb|abbr=on convert|16|in|mm|adj=on shells would have required a belt incline of 19° and a beam too wide for the Panama Canal.

The underwater armor includes side protection and a triple bottom, both multi-layered systems designed to absorb the energy from an underwater explosion equivalent to convert|700|lb|kg of TNT—the Navy's best guess in the 1930s about Japanese weapons. However, unbeknownst to U.S. Naval Intelligence, the Japanese convert|610|mm|in|abbr=on "Long Lance" torpedo carried a convert|490|kg|lb|abbr=on warhead.

The "Iowa"-class torpedo defense is virtually the same as the "South Dakota"'s. Each side of the ship is protected by one tank mounted outside the hull and loaded with fuel oil or other liquid ballast, and an empty inboard tank, all running from the third deck to the bottom of the ship. The liquid tanks are to deform and absorb the shock from the explosion and contain most of the shards from the damaged structure. The inner void is expected to contain any leakage into the interior ship spaces. The armor belt is designed to stop fragments that penetrate the second torpedo bulkhead; however, tests in 1943 showed structural defects in the system.


The "Iowa" class used several types of aircraft for reconnaissance and for gunnery spotting. The early aircraft were floatplanes launched from catapults on the ship's Fantail. They landed on the water, taxied to the stern of the ship, and were lifted by a crane back to the catapult.


Initially, the "Iowas" carried the Vought OS2U Kingfisher, a lightly armed two-man aircraft designed in 1937. The ships typically carried three Kingfishers: two on the catapults and a spare on a trailer nearby.cite web |url= |title=Iowa Class: Shipboard Aircraft |accessdate=2007-03-13 |publisher=Iowa Class Preservation Association]

The Kingfisher's high operating ceiling made it well-suited for its primary mission: to observe the fall of shot from the battleship's guns and radio corrections back to the ship. The floatplanes also performed search and rescue for naval aviators who were shot down or forced to ditch in the ocean.


In June 1942, the U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics requested industry proposals for a new seaplane to replace the Kingfisher and Curtiss SO3C Seamew. The new aircraft was required to be able to use landing gear as well as floats.

Curtiss submitted a design on 1 August, and received a contract for two prototypes and five service-test aircraft on 25 August.Bridgeman, pp. 221–22.] The first flight of a prototype XSC-1 took place 16 February 1944 at the Columbus, Ohio, Curtiss plant. The first production aircraft were delivered in October 1944, and by the beginning of 1945 the single-seat Curtiss SC Seahawk floatplane began replacing the Kingfisher.


Around 1949, helicopters replaced floatplanes on the "Iowa" class. They operated from atop of Turret 2 until the catapults were removed, allowing helicopter operations to shift to the fantail. The aft guns are forbidden to fire when a helicopter is on the aft deck.

Helicopters added a logistics role to gunnery spotting and search-and-rescue; they ferried troops and supplies between ships and to and from land bases. Like the seaplanes before them, the helicopters had no hangar facilities, but the "Iowas" did have support facilities for five types of helicopters: the UH-1 Iroquois, SH-2 Seasprites, CH-46 Sea Knight, CH-53 Sea Stallion and the LAMPS III SH-60B Seahawk.


In December 1983, U.S. aircraft carriers operating off the coast of Lebanon sent out 28 aircraft to bomb targets in the Bekaa Valley in retaliation for anti-aircraft fire directed at F-14 reconnaissance flights operating from the carriers. The main target of the bombing run was a Syrian radar station, but before the aircraft could reach the site, two American planes were shot down by Syrian guns.cite news | last = Hellman | first = Peter | title = The little airplane that could: Mastiff, a remotely piloted vehicle | url = | work = Discover | date = February 1987 | accessdate = 2007-10-09] In an analysis of the incident, U.S. Navy Secretary John Lehman determined that the targeted SAM sites had been within the range of the battleship "New Jersey" and her convert|16|in|mm|adj=on guns, but there had been no way for the battleship to accurately target the sites without an aerial observer to direct the ship's rounds to the target.Newcome, p. 96.]

In part because of Israeli success with their deployment of the Mastiff unmanned aerial vehicles, the U.S. Navy made a covert request for a Mastiff drone system. Israel responded by lending a drone to the U.S. in 1984. The success of the Mastiff system in tests ultimately led the Navy to develop its own UAV system, resulting in the creation of the RQ-2 Pioneer UAV. The Pioneer made its first deployment in December 1986 aboard the "Iowa".cite web | last = Pike | first = John | title = Pioneer Short Range (SR) UAV | url = | publisher = Federation of American Scientists | date = 2000-03-05 | accessdate = 2007-03-02 ]

Launched from the fantail using a rocket-assist booster that was discarded shortly after takeoff, a Pioneer used an aft-mounted, push-propeller engine to achieve speeds of up to convert|90|mph|km/h with a mission endurance of about four hours. The Pioneer carried a video camera in a pod under the belly of the aircraft, which transmitted live video back to the ship so that the operators could observe enemy actions or fall of shot during naval gunnery. Because it was difficult to land the Pioneer without damaging itself or the ship, a large net was strung up for recovery as for a volleyball game, and the aircraft is flown into it. Each battleship could carry as many as eight Pioneers, sometimes referred to as remote piloted vehicles (RPVs).

Pioneer garnered international attention for its use during the 1991 Gulf War, when it saw extensive use from the "Missouri" and "Wisconsin". The latter became the first ship to have enemy forces surrender to one of its remotely controlled observation drones.

Engineering plant

The "Iowa"-class battleships are the fastest battleships ever launched, capable of sustained speeds of 33 knots (61 km/h) or better. The engineering plant on "Iowa" and "Missouri" consists of four General Electric double-expansion steam turbine engines, each driving a single shaft that turns one screw. The two outboard screws on the "Iowa" class have four blades and are just over convert|18|ft|m in diameter. The two inboard screws have five blades and are about convert|17.5|ft|m in diameter. The equivalent machinery on "New Jersey" and "Wisconsin" was provided by Westinghouse.Preston, p. 259.]

Eight Babcock and Wilcox M-Type boilers operate at convert|600|psi|kPa|lk=on with a maximum superheater outlet temperature of convert|875|°F|°C.

The double-expansion engines consist of a high-pressure (HP) turbine and a low-pressure (LP) turbine. The steam is first passed through the HP turbine which turns at up to 2,100 rpm. The steam, largely depleted at this point, is then passed through a large conduit to the LP turbine. By the time it reaches the LP turbine, it has no more than convert|50|psi|kPa of pressure left. The LP turbine increases efficiency and power by extracting the last little bit of energy from the steam.

After leaving the LP turbine, the exhaust steam passes into a condenser and is then returned as feed water to the boilers. Water lost in the process is replaced by three evaporators, which can make a total of convert|60000|USgal|L of fresh water. After the boilers have had their fill, the remaining fresh water is fed to the ship's potable water systems for drinking, showers, hand washing, cooking, etc. All of the urinals and all but one of the toilets on the "Iowa" class flush with saltwater in order to conserve fresh water. [The toilet that gets the fresh water is the one in the brig, which flushes with fresh water to prevent those incarcerated in the brig from drinking the water to make themselves sick, which would entail transferring that person from the brig to the medical room. cite web|title = USS Missouri (BB-63) Frequently Asked Questions | url = |publisher= Ben M. Schorr,|accessdate=2006-12-16]

The turbines, especially the HP turbine, can turn at 2,000 rpm; their shafts drive through reduction gearing that turns the propeller shafts at speeds up to 225 rpm, depending upon the desired speed of the ship.


Electricity drives many systems aboard ship, including rotating the turrets and elevating the guns. Each of the four engine rooms has a pair of Ship's Service Turbine Generators (SSTGs) [For a diagram and statistics of SSTGs, see: cite web | last = Hochscheidt | first = Mike | title = Ship’s Service Turbine Generator | url = | accessdate = 2008-07-25 ] manufactured by Westinghouse. Each SSTG generates 1.25 MW for a total of 10 MW of electricity. The SSTGs are powered by steam from the same boilers that feed the engines. For backup, the ship also has a pair of 250-kW diesel generators.

To allow battle-damaged electrical circuits to be repaired or bypassed, the lower decks of the ship have a Casualty Power System whose large three-wire cables and wall outlets called "biscuits" can be used to re-route power. [cite web | author = Defense Technical Information Center | title = Casualty power | url = | format = doc | publisher = United States Department of Defense | accessdate=2007-03-14 ]

Radar and electronic warfare systems

Since the first commercial radar system was installed aboard the battleship USS|Texas|BB-35|6,cite web | title = USS "Texas" (BB-35) | url = | publisher= Historic Naval Ships Association | accessdate = 2006-12-29] battleships have used radar for aerial reconnaissance, surface surveillance, and as part of the fire control system for the battleship's guns. Since their modernization in the 1980s, the four "Iowa" class battleships have also used electronic countermeasures systems for defense against enemy missiles and aircraft.


Each of the four "Iowa"-class battleships are equipped with the AN/SPS-49 Radar Set, an L-band, long-range, two-dimensional, air-search radar system that provides automatic detection and reporting of targets within its surveillance volume. The AN/SPS-49 performs accurate centroiding of target range, azimuth, amplitude, ECM level background, and radial velocity with an associated confidence factor to produce contact data for command and control systems. Additionally, the contact range and bearing information is provided for display on standard plan position indicator consoles.cite web | title = AN/SPS-49 Very Long-Range Air Surveillance Radar | url = | publisher = | date = 2005-04-27 | accessdate = 2007-03-14 ]

The AN/SPS-49 uses a line-of-sight, horizon-stabilized antenna to provide acquisition of low-altitude targets in all sea states, and also utilizes an upspot feature to provide coverage for high diving threats in the high diver mode. External control of AN/SPS-49 modes and operation by the command and control system, and processing to identify and flag contacts as special alerts are provided for self-defense support.

The AN/SPS-49 has several operational features to allow optimum radar performance: an automatic target detection capability with pulse doppler processing and clutter maps, ensuring reliable detection in normal and severe types of clutter; an electronic counter-countermeasures capability for jamming environments; a moving target indicator capability to distinguish moving targets from stationary targets and to improve target detection during the presence of clutter and chaff; the Medium PRF Upgrade (MPU) to increase detection capabilities and reduce false contacts; and a Coherent Sidelobe Cancellation (CSLC) feature.

The "Iowa"-class battleships are also equipped with the Radar Set AN/SPS-67, a short-range, two-dimensional, surface-search/navigation radar system that provides highly accurate surface and limited low-flyer detection and tracking capabilities. The AN/SPS-67 is a solid-state replacement for the AN/SPS-10 radar, using a more reliable antenna and incorporating standard electronic module technology for simpler repair and maintenance. The AN/SPS-67 provides excellent performance in rain and sea clutter, and is useful in harbor navigation, since the AN/SPS-67 is capable of detecting buoys and small obstructions without difficulty.cite web | title = AN/SPS-67 | url = | publisher = | date = 2005-04-27 | accessdate = 2007-03-14 ]

The AN/SPS-67(V)1 radar is a two-dimensional (azimuth and range) pulsed radar set primarily designed for surface operations with a secondary capability of anti-ship-missile and low flier detection. The radar set operates in the 5,450 to 5,825 MHz range, using a coaxial magnetron as the transmitter output tube. The transmitter/receiver is capable of operation in a long (1.0 msec), medium (0.25 msec), or short (0.10 msec) pulse mode to enhance radar performance for specific operational or tactical situations. Pulse repetition frequencies (PRF) of 750, 1,200, and 2,400 pulses/second are used for the long, medium, and short pulse modes, respectively.

Electronic warfare

In 1967 Egypt sank the Israeli destroyer "Eilat" using a Soviet SS-N-2 STYX missile, prompting the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) to consider creating a family of inexpensive Electronic Warfare suites to replace and/or complement existing and planned ship surveillance sensors in the early 1970s, a feeling increased when an analysis of the existing AN/WLR-1 and AN/ULQ-6 systems installed on most ships determined that neither system could counter an Anti-Ship Cruise Missile (ASCM) in time to prevent a hit. In addition, hard kill weapons were not effective because there was little early warning of an attack due to the characteristics of ASCMs. The resulting EW suite was the AN/SLQ-32(V), which debuted in 1979 and was capable of early warning of threat weapon system emitters and emitters associated with targeting platforms, threat information to own ship hard-kill weapons, automatic dispensing of chaff decoys, and Electronic Attack (EA) to alter specific and generic ASCM trajectories. This system, specifically the SLQ-32(V)3 variant, was fitted to the "Iowa" class battleships in 1980s for defense against enemy anti-ship missiles.cite web | title = AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare (EW) system | url = | publisher = Federation of American Scientists| date = 1999-06-30 | accessdate = 2007-03-14 ]

To counter the threat posed by enemy submarines the "Iowa" class were also outfitted with the AN/SLQ-25 Nixie, a towed torpedo decoy used on US and allied warships. It consists of a towed decoy device, and a shipboard signal generator. The decoy emits signals to draw a torpedo away from its intended target. The Nixie attempts to defeat a torpedo's passive sonar by emitting simulated ship noise, such as propeller and engine noise, which is more attractive than the ship to the torpedo's sensors. Active sonar is decoyed by amplifying and returning "pings" from the torpedo, presenting a larger false target to the torpedo. [cite web | title = AN/SLQ-25 NIXIE | url = | publisher = Federation of American Scientists| date = 1999-06-30 | accessdate = 2007-03-14 ]

Reactivation potential

After World War II, the United States maintained the four "Iowa"-class battleships in the United States Navy reserve fleets, better known as the "mothball fleet", and on several occasions reactivated these battleships for naval gunfire support. The U.S. Navy has held onto its battleships long after the expense and the arrival of aircraft and precision guided munitions led other nations to scrap their big-gun fleets. [Government Accountability Office, "Naval Surface Fire Support Program Plans and Costs" (NSIAD-99-91).] The United States Congress is largely responsible for this. The lawmakers argue that the battleships' large-caliber guns have a militarily useful destructive power lacking in the smaller, cheaper, and faster guns mounted by U.S. cruisers and destroyers.Government Accountability Office. "Information on Options for Naval Surface Fire Support" (GAO-05-39R).]

The Navy, which sees the battleships as too costly, is working to persuade Congress to allow it to remove "Iowa" and "Wisconsin" from the Naval Vessel Register by developing extended-range guided munitions and a new ship to fulfill Marine Corps requirements for naval surface fire support (NSFS).

The Navy plan called originally called for the extension of the range of the convert|5|in|mm|0|adj=on guns on the Flight I sclass|Arleigh Burke|destroyer|0 guided missile destroyers (USS|Arleigh Burke|DDG-51|6 to USS|Ross|DDG-71|6) with Extended Range Guided Munitions (ERGMs) that would enable the ships to fire precision guided projectiles about convert|40|nmi|km|-1 inland. The program was initiated in 1996 with a preliminary cost of $78.6 million; however, the cost of the program increased 400% during its research and development phase. The results of the program had been similarly disappointing: the original expected operational capability date was pushed from 2001 to 2011 before being cancelled by the navy in March 2008 for buget-related reasons and an apparent shift by the navy from the ERGM program to the Ballistic Trajectory Extended Range Munition (BTERM) program.cite news | url = | title = Navy ends ERGM funding | accessdate = 2008-04-23 | last = Matthews | first = William | date = 2007-03-25 | work = Navy Times ] These weapons are not intended or expected to satisfy the full range of the Marine Corps NSFS requirements.Government Accountability Office, "Evaluation of the Navy’s 1999 Naval Surface Fire Support Assessment" (NSAID-99-225).]

The result of the latter effort to design and build a replacement ship for the two battleships was the "Zumwalt"-class destroyer program, also known either as the DD(X) or DDG-1000 (in reference to "Zumwalt"’s hull number). The DD(X) was to mount a pair of Advanced Gun System turrets capable of firing specially designed Long Range Land Attack Projectiles some convert|60|mi|km|-1 inland. Originally, the navy had planned to build a total of 32 of these destroyers, however the increasing cost of the program led the navy to reduce the overall number of destroyers built from 32 to 24." [ National Defense Authorization Act of 2007] " (pdf) pp. 69–70. Retrieved on 2008-08-01.] In 2007 the total procurement of "Zumwalt"-class destroyers was further reduced to a total of seven, before being discontinued at a total of two destroyers in July 2008 as a result of the high cost of building each of the two ships.cite news | url = | title = DDG 1000 program will end at 2 ships | accessdate = 2008-07-27 | last = Cavas | first = Christopher P. | date = 2008-07-24 | work = Navy Times ] [The Navy has stated that it may ask for construction of a third "Zumwalt"-class destroyer, but has not specified when or if it will exercise such an option. cite news | url = | title = DDG 1000 program will end at 2 ships | accessdate = 2008-07-27 | last = Cavas | first = Christopher P. | date = 2008-07-24 | work = Navy Times ]

On 17 March 2006 the Secretary of the Navy exercised his authority to strike "Iowa" and "Wisconsin" from the Naval Vessel Register, which cleared the way for both ships to be donated for use as museums. The United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps had both certified that battleships would not be needed in any future war, and have thus turned their attention to development and construction of the next generation sclass|Zumwalt|destroyer|0 guided missile destroyers.

This move has drawn fire from a variety of sources familiar with the subject; among them are dissenting members of the United States Marine Corps, who feel that battleships are still a viable solution to naval gunfire support,cite news | last = Novak | first = Robert | authorlink = Robert Novak | title = Losing the battleships | url = | publisher = | date = 2005-12-06 | accessdate = 2008-07-25 ] [Marine Corps supports the strategic purpose of reactivating two battleships in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act of 1996 and supports the Navy's modernization efforts to deliver a sufficient NSFS capability that exceeds that of the Iowa class battleships. See: Government Accountability Office. "Information on Options for Naval Surface Fire Support".] members of the United States Congress who remain "deeply concerned" over the loss of naval surface gunfire support that the battleships provided, and number of independent groups such as the United States' Naval Fire Support Association (USNFSA) whose ranks frequently include former members of the armed service and fans of the battleships. [cite news | last = Blazar | first = Ernest | title = New debate resurrects old one; critics say cancel arsenal ship, bring back battleships | work = Navy Times | date = 1996-07-29 ] [cite news | title = Navy proposes destroyer with long-range guns | work = USA Today | date = 2005-08-15 ] Although the arguments presented from each group differ, they all agree that the United States Navy has not in good faith considered the potential of reactivated battleships for use in the field, a position that is supported by a 1999 Government Accountability Office report regarding the United States Navy's gunfire support program.

In response, the Navy has pointed to the cost of reactivating the two "Iowa" class battleships to their decommissioned capability. The Navy estimates costs in excess of $500 million, [This number is based on 1999 estimate with a 4% annual inflation rate. See: Government Accountability Office. "Information on Options for Naval Surface Fire Support".] [The U.S. Navy reported in the April 1987 edition of "All Hands" that the original cost of bringing the battleships back in the 1980s was $110 million per ship, but the actual cost after modernization and recommissioning was $455 million. See: Bureau of Naval Personnel, "Back on the battle line".] but this does not include an additional $110 million needed to replenish the gunpowder for the convert|16|in|mm|0|adj=on guns because a survey found the powder to be unsafe. In terms of schedule, the Navy's program management office estimates that reactivation would take 20 to 40 months, given the loss of corporate memory and the shipyard industrial base.

Reactivating the battleships would require a wide range of battleship modernization improvements, according to the Navy's program management office. At a minimum, these modernization improvements include command and control, communications, computers, and intelligence equipment; environmental protection (including ozone-depleting substances); a plastic-waste processor; pulper/shredder and wastewater alterations; firefighting/fire safety and women-at-sea alterations; a modernized sensor suite (air and surface search radar); and new combat and self-defense systems. The Navy's program management office also identified other issues that would strongly discourage the Navy from reactivating and modernizing the battleships. For example, personnel needed to operate the battleships would be extensive, and the skills needed may not be available or easily reconstituted. [The U.S. Navy reported in the April 1987 edition of "All Hands" that while battleships have larger crews than other vessels the level of training required and the criticality of that training were less than that required of a crew aboard an "Oliver Hazard Perry"-class frigate. See: Bureau of Naval Personnel, "Back on the battle line".] Other issues include the age and unreliability of the battleships' propulsion systems and the fact that the Navy no longer maintains the capability to manufacture their convert|16|in|mm|adj=on gun system components and ordnance.

Although the Navy firmly believes in the capabilities of the DD(X) destroyer program, members of the United States Congress remain skeptical about the efficiency of the new destroyers when compared to the battleships. Partially as a consequence the US House of Representatives have asked that the battleships be kept in a state of readiness should they ever be needed again."Report 109–452. National Defense Authorization Act of 2007." 109th Congress, House of Representatives. p. 68.] Congress has asked that the following measures be implemented to ensure that, if need be, "Iowa" and "Wisconsin" can be returned to active duty:
#"Iowa" and "Wisconsin" must not be altered in any way that would impair their military utility;
#The battleships must be preserved in their present condition through the continued use of cathodic protection, dehumidification systems, and any other preservation methods as needed;
#Spare parts and unique equipment such as the convert|16|in|mm|adj=on gun barrels and projectiles be preserved in adequate numbers to support "Iowa" and "Wisconsin", if reactivated;
#The Navy must prepare plans for the rapid reactivation of "Iowa" and "Wisconsin" should they be returned to the Navy in the event of a national emergency.These four conditions closely mirror the original three conditions that the Nation Defense Authorization Act of 1996 laid out for the maintenance of "Iowa" and "Wisconsin" while they were in the Mothball Fleet.cite web | title = BB-61 IOWA-class (Specifications) | url = | publisher = Federation of American Scientists | accessdate = 2006-11-26] PDFlink| [ National Defense Authorization Act of 1996] |1.68 MB. 104th Congress, House of Representatives. p. 237. Retrieved on 17 December 2006.]

Popular culture

The "Iowa class"-battleships have been featured prominently in American culture. "Iowa" was the centerpiece for the book "A Glimpse of Hell: The Explosion on the U. S. S. Iowa & Its Cover-Up " which dealt with the events surrounding the 1989 explosion of her No. 2 turret. In 2001 the book was turned into a movie by the same name staring James Caan and directed by Mikael Salomon. [cite web |url= |title=A Glimpse of Hell |accessdate=2007-02-25 |author= Chaw, Walter|year=2002 |month=March |publisher= [ Film Freak Central] ] "Missouri" was featured in the 1977 movie "MacArthur", starring Gregory Peck, the 1983 television mini-series "The Winds of War", starring Ralph Bellamy and Robert Mitchum, and Cher's music video "If I Could Turn Back Time". [citeweb |url= |title=Cher: If I Could Turn Back Time (Music Video) |accessdate=2007-12-02] The 1992 movie "Under Siege", staring Steven Seagal, was also set aboard "Missouri", although the movie was actually filmed aboard the battleship USS|Alabama|BB-60|6. "Wisconsin" was featured prominently in the news during the 1991 Gulf War, when she became the first ship to receive the surrender of enemy troops on the ground when her Pioneer drone recorded Iraqi soldiers waving white flags after being shelled by "Missouri". [cite web|publisher=National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution |url= |title=Pioneer RQ-2A |date=2001-09-14 |accessdate=2006-11-26]

Aside from the above appearances of the "Iowa"-class battleships in popular culture, all four battleships have been featured to greater or lesser degrees in military science related media, in particular documentaries on or relating to World War II. [cite episode |title= |network=History Channel |airdate= |began=2008-02-29 |ended=2008-05-02] "Missouri", in particular, has received much attention in this area as it was on her deck that the Empire of Japan formally surrendered to the Allied Powers of World War II, thus ending the Second World War. In addition to appearances in documentary related material, the "Iowa"-class battleships do occasionally feature in alternative history scenarios, in particular with regards to the Cold War and the threat of armed conflict between Warsaw Pact and NATO forces. Such scenarios usually feature the battleships in naval gunfire support missions for U.S. or NATO personnel. [cite video game|title=World in Conflict |developer=Massive Entertainment |publisher=Sierra Entertainment |year=2007 |platform=PC |level=Battle for Pine Valley] [cite book |last=Clancy |first=Tom |authorlink=Tom Clancy |coauthors=Bond, Larry|title=Red Storm Rising |origdate=1983 |year=1987 |month=August |publisher=The Berkley Publishing Group |location=New York, New York |isbn=042510107X |pages=pp. 628–32. |chapter=The Killing Ground ]



* The Floating Drydock. "United States Naval Vessels", ONI 222-US, Kresgeville, PA 18333

Further reading

* [ Firing Procedure for the 16"/50 (40.6 cm) Mark 7]
* [ Operating Instructions for Five Inch, 38 Caliber, Gun Crews]

External links

* [ A comparison of seven battleship classes during WWII]
* [ Thoughts on the battleships of WWII]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Armament of the Iowa class battleship — The armament of the engaged the Imperial Japanese Navy battlecruiser Kirishima at a range of convert|18500|yd|m| 2 at night.cite book | last = Mindell | first = David | title = Between Human and Machine | publisher = Johns Hopkins | date = 2002 | …   Wikipedia

  • Montana class battleship — A 1944 model of a Montana class battleship Class overview Name: Montana class battleship …   Wikipedia

  • Bismarck class battleship — The Bismarck class battleships were a class of battleships built by Germany around the onset of World War II. In terms of full load displacement, the Bismarck class ships were the third largest battleships ever completed, behind the Japanese… …   Wikipedia

  • Nevada class battleship — USS Nevada after her 1942 reconstruction. Class overview Name: Nevada class Builders …   Wikipedia

  • Colorado class battleship — Colorado steaming off New York City, circa 1932 Class overview Name: Colorado class …   Wikipedia

  • Maine class battleship — USS Maine (BB 10) Class overview Name: Maine class battleship Operators …   Wikipedia

  • Delaware class battleship — USS North Dakota, the second ship of the class Class overview Name: Delaware class battleship Builders …   Wikipedia

  • Dunkerque class battleship — Dunkerque Class overview Preceded by: Lyon class (planned) Bretagne class (actual) Succeeded by …   Wikipedia

  • Connecticut class battleship — USS Connecticut (BB 18) Class overview Name: Connecticut class battleship Operators …   Wikipedia

  • Irish class battleship — Irish class battleshipFast FactsShip TypeBattleshipClass:IrishLaunched:Universal Century 0087?Class Fate:Production ended UC 0088General CharacteristicsDisplacement:UnknownLength:U …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”