U.S.S. California
DLGN-36 / CGN-36
The Golden Grizzly
In The Beginning, Memories of a Plank Owner

The Ship

CGN 36 California Class

The mission of CALIFORNIA-class nuclear-powered guided missile cruisers is to operate offensively in the presence of air, surface, and subsurface threats. These actions may be performed independently or in support of sealift convoys, high-speed aircraft carrier task forces, or amphibious task forces. The nuclear-powered engineering plant allows the cruiser to conduct operations over extended periods of time anywhere in the world. To accomplish its mission, these ships are equipped with the latest technology and equipment including the New Threat Upgrade modernization. With a fully integrated combat system, it has the capabilities to quickly detect modern threat platforms, perform high-speed data processing and employ powerful weaponry.

To aid in accomplishing their assigned tasks, these ships are equiped with an extensive array of weapons and sensors. Weapons include the SM-2 surface to air missile, Harpoon surface to surface missile, two five inch guns and the 20mm Close In Weapon System (CIWS). Sensors include a 3D air search radar, 2D air search radar, an array of surface search radars and fire control radar systems. They are also equiped with passive electronic surveillance and jamming systems unequaled by any other cruiser in the Navy. These weapons and sensors give them the ability to attack and defend against targets that are over 70 nautical miles away while being able to protect themselfs from close range attacks. Two nuclear reactors provide all the energy required for the propulsion plant and electric generators. The two propulsion plants deliver 70,000 shaft horsepower, allowing sustained speeds in excess of 30 knots (nautical miles per hour) all over the world.

On the 04 September 1998 USS South Carolina completed her service to the active fleet of The United States Navy. Beginning the final Deactivation process, on 04 November 1998, the ship entered Drydock 4 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. As of 01 October 1998 CGN-36 California was in commission in Reserve (Stand Down) at Bremerton WA at the start of the inactivation cycle.

Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.
Keel Laid: January 23, 1970 Launched: September 22, 1971
Commissioned: February 16, 1974 Length: 596 FEET
Beam: 61 FEET Draft: 31.5 FEET
Displacement: 10530 tons (full load) Crew: 28 Officers and 512 Enlisted Men
TWO (2)-D2G pressurized,
water-cooled reactors
TWO (2)-geared steam turbines
TWO (2)-shafts @ 60,000shp each
TOP SPEED of 30+ knots
TWO (2)-TARTAR "D" guided missile batteries
TWO (2)-5"54 caliber light weight guns
One (1)-anti-submarine rocket (ASROC) launcher
-anti-submarine torpedo tubes.
Equipped with AN/SQS-26CX long range sonar
USS CALFORNIA (DLGN-36), is the first of a new class of nuclear-powered guided missile frigates constructed at Newport News, Virginia. She is also the first ship named under the new policy of assigning names of states of the union to major nuclear-powered surface combatants.
She is a fast, highly maneuverable destroyer, whose mission is to operate as an element of a fast carrier task force, or independently to detect and destroy any threats by hostile forces.
CALIFORNIA's twin reactors give the ship essentially unlimited endurance, she can sustain high speeds for long periods of time and is capable of conducting extended extended operations in combat areas far from supply bases.
Although designed, built, and commissioned as a Guided Missile Frigate (DLGN), International Standards condsidered her to be TOO large and TOO well armed to be part of the Destroyer Class. Therefore, on June 30, 1975, she was re-classified as a Guided Missile Cruiser (CGN).

Ship Diagrams:

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Weapons Systems and Radars

The previous information from:Federation of American Scientists; Military Analysis Network

Status of the Nuclear Powered Cruisers

USS Long Beach CGN-9 9 September 1961 1 May 1995
USS Bainbridge CGN-25 6 October 1962 6 October 1995
USS Truxtun CGN-35 27 May 1967 11 September 1995
USS California CGN-36 16 February 1974 9 July 1999
USS South Carolina CGN-37 25 January 1975 30 July 1999
USS Virginia CGN-38 11 September 1976 10 November 1993
USS Texas CGN-39 10 September 1977 7 July 1993
USS Mississippi CGN-40 5 August 1978 28 July 1997
USS Arkansas CGN-41 18 October 1980 7 July 1998

The following Information was taken from the book:
Modern Naval Combat 1986 edition
by: David and Chris Miller
Published by: Crescent Books, Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, New York 10003

The layout of the four ships of the Virginia class were similar to that of their two California class predecessors, but with some modifications, the most significant of which are the replacement of the California's single-arm MK 13 launchers by the later MK 26 twin Asroc launcher forward and the provision of a helicopter hanger in the stern.

The MK26 launcher is capable of accommodating a variety of missiles and removed the need for separate Asroc and surface-to-air missile launchers. The resulting elimination of the Asroc launcher and its associated reloading deckhouse enabled the hull to be shortened by 11 feet.

The helicopter hanger measures 42 feet by 14 feet and is served by an electro-mechanical elevator covered by a telescopic hatch. This arrangement in a ship other than an aircraft carrier is the first since the Des Moines (CA 134) class of cruisers of the mid-1940s.

The original plan to procure 11 ships of the Virginia class, in combination with CGN's of earlier classes, would have provided each of the projected CVN's with four nuclear powered escort vessels. However, after four units of the Virginia class had been laid down, further orders were suspended while consideration was given first to a Strike Cruiser (CSGN) concept and then later to a Modified Virginia (CGN-38) design fitted with the Aegis system. The construction of the Modified Virginia cruisers was cancelled in January 1979, and the proposal was resurrected in March 1981 only to be cancelled once again (almost certainly for the final time) in February 1983. All of these projects have been abandoned in favor of the conventionally powered Ticonderoga (CG-47) class and there are no further plans for any further nuclear powered cruisers to be built.

The benefits of nuclear powered ships-primarily their long range and the reduction they allowed in fleet trains-were starting to be offset by their enormous capital costs, and when faced with a bid for a numerically large class of cruisers to take the Aegis system, the US Congress insisted that the oil fired Spruance design, rather than the nuclear powered Virginia design be used as the starting point. The result was the Ticonderoga Class.

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