MartiniPundit

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Posts Tagged ‘Navy

The Old Battlewagons

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Obsolete though they may be, there is still nothing like a battleship.  Strategy Page makes the case for bringing two of the last back:

These perceived shortfalls in fire support are the reason that there has been a lobbying effort to reactivate at least two of the Iowa-class battleships, led by the United States Naval Fire Support Association (USNFSA). The two ships that would return to service should the USNFSA get its way are the Iowa (the #2 turret has been nearly repaired, and the parts to complete the repairs are stored in that turret) and the Wisconsin. These ships would be equipped with shells developed from the HE-ER Mk 148 program (cancelled after the 1991 decommissioning of the battleships). The Ex-148 was slated to have a range of 91 kilometers using a 13.5-inch (343mm) shell in a sabot. An 11-inch (280mm) version would have had a range of 180 kilometers (equivalent to the 155mm AGS). These shells, at 1,400 pounds/635 kilograms and 694 pounds/315 kilograms respectively, are much larger than the shells from the 127mm and 155mm guns. For targets close to shore (within 15 miles/25 kilometers or so), the Iowas could use their regular shells, either the 2,700-pound (1,225-kilogram) armor-piercing shell or the 1,900-pound (862-kilogram) high-capacity shell. This is possible due to the fact that the Iowa-class battleships carry much more armor than the Burke and Zumwalt-class destroyers, and are thus much more resistant to damage.

The Iowa class has certainly been among the most long-lived of US warships.  Four were commisioned during WWII: Iowa (BB61), New Jersey (BB62), Missouri (BB63), and Wisconsin (BB64).  Two more, the Illinois (BB65) and the Kentucky (BB66) were never completed. The ships cost the taxpayers $100 million each in 1944, but they can be said to be a bargain given that they are still potentially viable warships six decades later.  One, the Missouri saw the surrender of the Japanese Empire in Tokyo Bay and is now a museum ship at Pearl Harbor.  The New Jersey is slated to become a museum.  With nine 16 inch guns apiece, the Iowa and the Wisconsin represent more artillery firepower than most countries possess.  As with ships like the German Bismarck and the Japanese Yamato, they were the epitome of the battleship (the Montana Class, had any been built, would have eclipsed the Iowas).  While those ships and their sisters are long gone, the Iowa class stands ready to serve again. Surely something to consider.

Here are all four.  That’s the Iowa in the foreground.

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Written by martinipundit

June 29, 2004 at 11:18 pm

Posted in Military, Ships

Tagged with , ,

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