fighting ships of the world



CALIFORNIA nuclear powered missile cruisers (1974 - 1975)

California 1975

No Name Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comm Fate
DLGN36, 6/1975- CGN36 California 595 Newport News SB 23/1/1970 22/9/1971 16/2/1974 stricken 7/1999
DLGN37, 6/1975- CGN37 South Carolina 596 Newport News SB 1/12/1970 1/7/1972 25/1/1975 stricken 7/1999

Displacement standard, t


Displacement full, t


Length, m

173.8 wl 181.7 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



2 sets geared steam turbines, 2 D2G reactors

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts


Fuel, t


Endurance, nm (kts)

practically unlimited


2 x 1 Standard SM-1MR SAM (80 RIM-66), 1 x 8 ASROC ASuR (24 RUR-5), 2 x 1 - 127/54 Mk 45, 4 - 324 TT (16), helicopter deck


SPS-40B, SPS-48C, SPS-10, 4x SPG-51D, SPG-60, SPQ-9A, LN-66 radars, SQS-26CX sonar, WLR-1, WLR-3 ECM suites, 2x Mk 28 decoy RL, NTDS CCS



Ship project history: These two ships were nuclear versions of the abortive conventionally-powered FY66 guided missile destroyer, built under the FY67 and FY68 programme, the first long lead time items having been bought under the FY66 programme. A third ship, partially funded in FY68, was built instead of a new design. Their construction was quite expensive, and by the late 1960s Secretary of Defense McNamara was unwilling to release funds for them; they were built as a result of Congressional pressure.

    The design originally called for a pair of heavyweight Mk 42 127mm/54 guns and two torpedo tubes for Mk 48 torpedoes in the transom; the tubes were discarded and lightweight Mk 45 guns substituted. The missile battery was controlled by the new digital Tartar-D (SPG-51D) fire control system, and. compared to the Bainbridge and Truxtun, they had improved D2G reactors with about three times the core lifetime. A helicopter landing area was provided aft, but they had no hangar, as they were designed during the gap between DASH and LAMPS. The Californias, have been described as the first US nuclear surface ships intended for series production. They were redesignated 'cruisers' (CGN) in 1975.

Modernizations: late 1970s, both: + 2 x 4 Harpoon SSM (8 RGM-84A)

early 1980s, both: - WLR-1, WLR-3 ECM suites, 2x Mk 28 decoy RL; + 2 x 6 - 20/76 Mk 15 Phalanx, 4 x 1 - 12.7/90, 2x Mk 90 radars, SLQ-32(v)3 ECM suite, 4x Mk 36 SRBOC decoy RL, T-Mk 6 Fanfare torpedo decoy

1986-1987, both: + Kevlar armour over vitals.

1993, California; 1994, South Carolina: - SPS-40B, SPS-48C, SPS-10, LN-66 radars, T-Mk 6 torpedo decoy; + (2 - 4) x 1 - 12.7/90, SPS-49(v)5, SPS-48E, SPS-64(v)9, SPS-67(v)1 radars, SLQ-25 torpedo decoy

1993, both: - 1 x 8 ASROC ASuR

Naval service: No significant events.

California 1979

South Carolina 1976

Ivan Gogin, 2016