The emphasis is on speed (all carriers can do over
30 knots), endurance, and sea-keeping ability (ability to
stay at sea for long periods under all conditions),
plane-carrying capacity, and maintenance capability.
Battleships.The battleships have been
decommissioned. However, they could be reactivated.
Battleships participated in few surface engagements in
World War II, but with their large number of antiaircraft
guns, they proved to be excellent support ships in carrier
task forces. Another major role was that of providing
gunfire support of amphibious landings in both the
Pacific and European theaters. Only their large-caliber
guns could knock out heavily reinforced gun
emplacements. They also provided gunfire support in
the Korean conflict.
Several battleships (BBs) were modernized to
include additional armament such as Tomahawk and
Harpoon missile systems or the Phalanx close-in
weapons system (CIWS). Battleships were given state
names. However, since there is little likelihood of our
building any more battleships, state names are being
given to cruisers like the USS South Carolina (CGN 37)
and to submarines (SSBNs) like the USS Ohio (SSBN
726) and USS Michigan (SSBN 727).
Cruisers.Cruisers are medium-sized,
general-utility ships. They have a large cruising range
and are capable of high speeds (over 30 knots). They
serve as protective screens against surface and air
attacks and also provide gunfire support for land
operations. The two basic types of cruisers are the
guided-missile cruiser (CG) and guided-missile cruiser
(nuclear propulsion) (CGN). Cruisers displace about
10,000 tons. The CGs include cruisers with missiles, but
some of these also have guns that are 5"/54 caliber.
CGNs are the same as the CGs except that their main
engines are nuclear-powered. Figures 8-15 and 8-16
show two cruisers.
Photograph courtesy of LT Brian Douglas
Figure 8-14.Various aircraft from Carrier Wing Three fly over the USS Enterprise (CVN 65).