The United States has chosen to retire its cruiser fleet.

Despite the air defence gap left by this force, the US Navy decided to scrap all 22 Ticonderoga-class cruisers.

The Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to participate Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010 exercises. Image: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jon Dasbach/US Navy

The US Navy released a 30-year shipbuilding plan on April 21 that plans to replace all Ticonderoga-class cruisers with the Flight III variant of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

The US Navy would dismantle 10 Ticonderogas this year and the remaining 12 by 2028 if the plan is approved by Congress, however some ships are being refurbished at a cost of $200 million each. The US Navy cites the fact that the Ticonderoga class has been in service for more than 30 years, and operating and maintaining them is becoming increasingly costly.

Because they have valuable characteristics and enormous armaments that are difficult to replace in a short time, the destiny of these cruisers has been a source of contention between the US Navy and Congress for the past ten years. The US Navy presented a number of options, including storing and modernising the fleet, but Congress rejected them all.

The Ticonderoga is the only surface ship class in the United States capable of directing and supervising air defence, and it is in charge of coordinating all air defence efforts in aircraft carrier combat groups. Unlike the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, which have 90-96 vertical rocket launchers, each ship has 122 vertical rocket launchers.

“The cost of cruisers and the renovation programme has increased by 175-200 percent, and the project is hundreds of days behind schedule. They have a 30-year service life, but have been used for up to 35 years “The chief of naval staff stated During a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee last year, Michael Gilday said.

According to the present plan, the US Navy will gradually replace the Ticonderoga class with Arleight Burke Flight III destroyers, the first of which is the USS Jack Lucas, which will be commissioned next year. The new destroyers, on the other hand, will be commissioned at a far slower pace than the cruisers. The United States Navy planned to build a new generation of cruisers dubbed CG(X), but the project was shelved in 2010 due to excessive expenditures.

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