US Navy to retain four Ticonderoga-class cruisers in service
The US Navy is likely to retain the operational service life of its four Aegis-equipped, Ticonderoga-class guided missile frigates, USS Cowpens (CG-63), USS Anzio (CG-68), USS Vicksburg (CG 69) and USS Port Royal (CG-73), which were due for decommissioning in March 2013.
A navy spokesperson at the Pentagon lieutenant Courtney Hillson was quoted by Defense News as saying: "The navy intends to retain these ships in service pending completion of the fiscal year 2013 authorisation and appropriation process, or other agreement with Congress."
In addition to the four Ticonderoga-class ships, the navy is scheduled to retire three other cruisers and two amphibious ships in 2014.
The navy received funding from House Appropriations Committee earlier to keep three of the cruisers in service, which were scheduled to be decommissioned in March 2013, while the Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to provide funds for all four cruisers until 2013.
Currently, USS Cowpens is in the Western Pacific, USS Anzio is participating in an international exercise in the Caribbean and USS Vicksburg is escorting USS Enterprise aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea.
The USS Port Royal, which was damaged in Hawaii in early 2009, is expected to be based at its home port in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, US and is still facing problems despite expensive repairs.
Powered by four General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine engines, the Ticonderoga-class ships are equipped with Lockheed Martin AN/SPY-1 air search and fire control radar, Cardion surface search radar AN/SPS-55, as well as four Raytheon AN/SPG-62 fire control radars.
Image: USS Port Royal (CG 73) underway for its deployment. Photo: US navy photo by photographer's mate 2nd Class Johnnie R Robbins.