By the late 20-teens, the oldest Ticonderoga cruisers of the United States Navy will begin to approach the end of their service life. DDX and CGX programs are languishing on cost basis. An interim, or "bridge" design is necessary to see US production through to the advent of the new, fully fleshed out, and feasable CGX program, or some future alternative.
CURRENT AEGIS CRUISERS (Oldest is over 20 years old)
With the successful introduction of the KDX-III, Sejong class AEGIS DDGs for the Republic of Korean Navy (ROKN), which the United States worked closely with, it is clear that a cruiser size variant of the Arliegh Burke class of DDGs can be built, and built affordably.
ROKN Sejong the Great AEGIS vessel
This page represents a hypotheticlal, proposed cruiser sized AEGIS vessel to supplement and "bridge" the Ticonderoga class that incorporates many of the desired future technologies proposed for the CGX, without the burdensom costs of an entirely new hull for those systems at too premature a date.
The proposed 10,000+ ton vessel would incorporate all of the following:
- 70-80+% commonality with Arliegh Burke Flight II Destroyers.
- New AEGIS SPY/AN-2 HPDR electronics and radar.
- The new 155mm Advanced Gun System (AGS), optimized for naval surface warfare and direct fire support.
- Use of the SM-6 missile as the principle long range air defense missile.
- Use of the SM-3 missile for ballistic missile defense.
- Use of Evolved Sea-Sparrow Missiles (EESM) for mid to short range air defense.
- Use of two RAM systems for close-in air defense (CIWS).
- Installation of heavy close range defense (20mm and 50-cal) for port or close-in littoral defense.
- Use of the new VL Harpoon III Anti-shipping missile.
- Use of the Tomahawk Tactical Missiles in the Land Attack Role.
- Heavy use of Mk-50 ADCAP (littoral enhanced) via VLA & triple launcher to combat new gen SS and SSNs.
- Use of manpower reduction technologies and policies learned from CVN-77 and CVN-78 programs.
Such systems and armament as is proposed for this vessel would create the most modern, most heavily armed, and most capable escort vessels on earth, and would allow these vessels to fulfill their own 35-40 year service life capabilities while retaining that world-wide position as technology and weapon system advances are incorporated into the design, which would be built with that in mind.
The initial vessles in class, the USS Shanksville, is a worthy suggestion for this class name given that locations recognition as the first victory in the global war on terror, and in keeping with naming many of the modern CG class after famous battle names.