The USS Philippine Sea is on patrol in the Persian Gulf. Her home is Mayport, Florida. The CG-58 primarily provides anti-aircraft protection for the fleet but the cruiser is armed with an array of missiles for many purposes in vertical launch systems that can contain Surface to Air missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles, anti-shiip ASROC’s. Also, the cruiser are armed with Harpoon surface to surface missiles and several guns for close-in defense. She also carries two MH-60 Seahawk helicopters.
The Ticonderoga-class cruiser’s design was based on that of the Spruance class destroyer. The Ticonderoga class introduced a new generation of guided missile warships based on the AEGIS phased array radar that is capable of simultaneously scanning for threats, tracking targets, and guiding missiles to interception. When they were designed, they had the most powerful electronic warfare equipment in the U.S. Navy, as well as the most advanced underwater surveillance system.
Due to budgetary constraints, several of the cruisers were being considered for retirement and their mission given to the newer, less expensive to maintain DDG’s. After further consideration, the U.S. Navy had decided not to retire four of the cruisers early in order to maintain the size of the fleet. Four Ticonderoga-class cruisers, plus 21 Arleigh Burke–class destroyers, are scheduled to be equipped to be capable of anti-ballistic missile and anti-satellite operations.
One ship of the class, the USS Vincennes (CG-49), became infamous in 1988 when she shot down Iran Air Flight 655, resulting in 290 civilian deaths. The commanding officer of the USS Vincennes had believed the airliner was an Iranian Air Force F-14 Tomcat fighter jet on an attack vector, based on reports of radar returns, revealed to be misinterpreted. The investigation report recommended that the AEGIS large screen display be changed to allow the display of altitude information on plots, and that stress factors on personnel using AEGIS be studied.