CGN-160 Long Beach Class
(Note: drawing contains some parts and lower hull details taken from

Ship Characteristics

Dimensions Length 721.2 ft
Beam 73.2 ft
Draft 31 ft
Displacement (Standard) 14,200 tons
Displacement (Full Load) 17,100 tons
Performance Speed (max) 33 knots
Armament Strategic missiles 6 Regulus 2
Long-range SAM/ABM 52 Talos
Medium-range SAM 120 Terrier


USS Long Beach was the first nuclear powered cruiser and first large combatant in the US Navy with its main battery consisting of guided missiles. She was also the first American cruiser since the end of World War II to built entirely new from the keel, up. Built in Bethlehem Steel Company's Fore River Shipyard at Quincy, Massachusetts, the ship's keel was laid on December 2, 1957. The ship was later launched on July 14, 1959. USS LONG BEACH got underway on nuclear power for the first time on the morning of July 5, 1961. On September 9, 1961, the ship was commissioned at the Boston Navy Shipyard. The ship was designed as part of the screen for the new generation of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the long-term plan being to replace the existing carrier task groups (then with two large Gettysburg and two smaller Essex class carriers) screened by three to six cruisers and up to 16 destroyers) with a group consisting of a single CVN, two nuclear-powered cruisers and four nuclear-powered destroyers. The Long Beach was armed with a large array of anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic missile missiles while for land attack she carried six of the new Regulus II cruise missiles. Guns were conspicuously absent from the ship's arsenal and she would remain gunless for the whole of her operational career. This led to the design being criticized at first since she apparently had no anti-ship firepower. In reality, both Talos and Terrier had anti-ship modes and gave the Long Beach a formidable anti-ship punch.

The most striking part of the new ship was her superstructure, dominated by the phased array radars built into the bridge faces. These gave the ship unsurpassed battle management capabilities and opened up a whole new range of abilities. In fact, the radars provided so much data that they swamped the ability of the crew to handle that information. As a result of these problems plus the serious teething problems experienced with the Talos and Terrier missiles, she spent much of her early career in test and development work, getting the bugs wrung out of her. From 1962 onwards she was jointed by the new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and the Long Beach's sister-ship the USS Hartford. With the new nuclear-powered "frigates" (actually large destroyers) also joining the fleet, this gave the US Navy its first wholly nuclear-powered task force. In 1963, a second nuclear-powered task force built around the USS Shiloh also joined the fleet.

Six ships of the CGN-160 class were built before production shifted to the larger Improved Long Beach class

In 1974, the class started entering the shipyards for mid-life upgrades. This saw the Talos and Terrier missiles replaced by the new Standard-ER and MR missiles while the radars and combat systems were upgraded. The Regulus handling facility admidships had been much-criticized and it was rebuilt to match the standard of the CGN-166 class. These upgrades saw the class remaining effective up to the time they were withdrawn from service in the early 1990s.

Class Members

Number Name Ordered Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
CGN-160 Long Beach 1957 1957 1959 1961 Decommissioned and scrapped 1991
CGN-161 Hartford 1958 1958 1960 1962 Decommissioned and scrapped 1992
CGN-162 Cheyenne 1959 1959 1961 1963 Decommissioned and scrapped 1993
CGN-163 Richmond 1959 1959 1961 1963 Decommissioned and scrapped 1993
CGN-164 Madison 1960 1960 1962 1964 Decommissioned and scrapped 1994
CGN-165 Trenton 1960 1960 1962 1964 Decommissioned and scrapped 1994
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