Boston-class cruiser

The United States Navy's Boston class were the first guided missile cruisers in the world. Both ships in this experimental class were originally Baltimore-class heavy cruisers that had been decommissioned after World War II, but were redesignated as guided missile heavy cruisers (CAGs) and entered refit in 1952. The lengthy conversion and modernization project involved removing the aft triple 8-inch gun turret and its supporting structure and installation of two twin launchers for Terrier anti-aircraft guided missiles. The forward two 8-inch gun turrets remained unchanged. The forward superstructure was modified to include the Terrier's associated radars and electronics, the aft superstructure was completely replaced, and Baltimore class's two funnels were trunked to one.

Owing to the Boston class's experimental nature, the ships were only partially converted, with a full conversion to be carried out if the new weapon systems were successful. Had the ships been fully converted, the forward 8-inch turrets would have been replaced with additional Terrier launchers.

In 1968 both Boston class guided missile heavy cruisers were reclassified back to heavy cruisers (CAs), in part due to the extensive use of their 8-inch guns for shore bombardment during the Vietnam War. While they had retained their Terrier missiles, the swift advance of technology had made these pioneering weapons obsolete after little more than a dozen years' service, and the ships' main battery were once again their six remaining 8-inch guns in the forward turrets.

Various proposals for limited modernization or complete reconstruction were considered but ultimately rejected. In 1970 both Boston class ships were decommissioned for the final time, eventually struck from the Naval Vessel Register, and sold for scrap.

Boston-class cruiser
Class Ship
Type Cruiser
Manufacturer Bethlehem Steel
Production Period 1941 - 1942
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1942
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
United States of America 1943 1970 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Bethlehem Steel 1941 1942 1 View
Fore River Shipyard 1941 1943 1 View
NameKeel laidLaunchedCommissionedDecommissioned
Boston (CAG-1)June 1941Aug. 1942Nov. 1955May 1970
Canberra (CAG-2)Sep. 1941Apr. 1943June 1956Feb. 1970

Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: N/A, First guided missile cruiser line authorized
Succeeded by: Galveston-class cruiser
Completed: 2
Retired: 2
Preserved: 0
General characteristics
Type: Boston Class Guided missile cruiser
Displacement: 13,600 tons
Length: 673 ft 3 in (205.2 m)
Beam: 71 ft 10 in (21.9 m)
Draft: 26 ft 10 in (8.2 m)
Propulsion: 4 615 psi boilers, steam turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph)
Complement: 1,142 officers and enlisted
Armament: 6 × 8 inch /55 caliber guns
10 × 5 in/38 cal guns
8 × 3?/50 caliber guns
2 × twin-rail Mark 4 RIM-2 Terriersurface-to-air missile launchers

End notes