Ingalls Yard Christens First Ship With Vertical Missile Launchers

The first U.S. Navy surface warship ever to be equipped with a vertical- launching missile system was christened recently at Ingalls Shipbuilding division of Litton in Pascagoula, Miss. The ship, the Bunker Hill (CG-52), is the fifth of 12 Aegis guided-missile cruisers under contract to Ingalls by the Navy. Principal speaker at the christening ceremony was Walter T. Skallerup Jr., the Navy's general counsel.

Mrs. Skallerup was the ship's sponsor.

Other participants in the christening program included: Vice Adm.

Earl B. Fowler, USN, commander Naval Sea Systems Command; Rear Adm. Donald P. Roane, USN, Aegis shipbuilding program manager; Rear Adm. John W. Nyquist, prospective commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group Five, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Jerry St. Pe, vice president of Litton and Ingalls Shipbuilding division president; and Capt.

George W. Dowell III, USN, Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Pascagoula.

The Bunker Hill is equipped with the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) produced by Martin Marietta, a multiwarfare missile launching system capable of firing a mix of missiles against airborne, surface, and underwater threats. It is modular in design, with modules grouped symetrically to form launcher magazines, located both fore and aft on the cruiser's deck.

Each module contains all the necessary components for launching functions when interfaced with Bunker Hill's weapons system.

Aegis ships comprise the most important shipbuilding program in America today. The Bunker Hill and other ships of the Ticonderoga Class will provide the primary protection for the Navy's battle forces well into the next century. Aegis ships are designed to counter all present and projected missile threats to the Navy's battle forces.

Bunker Hill's Aegis weapons system, the heart of her fighting capability, is a significant advance in fleet air defense. Four fixed-array radar antennae, mounted on the four sides of the ships superstructure, replace conventional rotating radars, enabling the vessel and her crew to "see" in all directions simultaneously.

The Aegis system can simultaneously fire and direct more missiles at more targets, with greater accuracy, than any other weapons control system.

Aegis cruisers are 567 feet long with a beam of 55 feet. Four General Electric gas turbine engines power the 9,250-ton ships at speeds in excess of 30 knots.

The Navy's third Aegis cruiser, Vincennes (CG-49), will be commissioned into the Pacific Fleet on July 6 this year. The fourth ship, Valley Forge (CG-50), will join the Fleet in January 1986.

In addition to the Bunker Hill, Ingalls has seven other cruisers in various stages of production. The Pascagoula yard is also building the lead ship of the Navy's new class of multipurpose amphibious assault ships, the Wasp (LHD-1).

Other stories from May 1985 issue


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