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Canberra Line

By wiskybb64
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USS Canberra as she would have looked in the 1980s. Guided Missile Heavy Crusier. Now we're talking.
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© 2009 - 2021 wiskybb64
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wiskybb64's avatar
Thanks for the kind words. I know that Boston was really, really run into the ground during her final years while Canberra was still in very good condition. However, it's easy enough to say that they both lasted long enough to be reactivated.

Concerning topheaviness it's interesting you suggested the removal of the armor belt. The more weight you have at or below the water line the better. Removing 3,000 tones of weight at the waterline by removing the belt would have raised its center of gravity by at least 8 and maybe even 10 feet. That would have made it probably as bad as Longbeach for stability :D

Now, if we want to talk about 21st century use....
There are a few problems with suggesting that the SPG-62 be used instead of the SPG-55B. First the SPG-62 is not a fire control system, it's a terminal illuminator that is used only by the Mk99 Aegis Weapon Direction System.
The SPG-51 and SPG-55 are called "track and scan" radar/illuminators while the SPG-62 is a slave illuminator. All the SPG-62 is, is a spot-light using radar energy that points and and lights up a particular target very, very brightly in the particular radar wavelength the SPY-1 radar the SM-2 missile seeker head are looking for. The SPG-51 and SPG-55 have transmitters and receivers so they can track and scan all by themselves without having to be specifically directed by another system. The SPG-62 on the other hand is a slave radar that has to be pointed in the right direction by something elsewhere. Aegis gets the radar information from the SPY-1 panels and then cues up the SPG-62 to point in the right direction. So you can imagine if the SPG-62 is out of alignment it no longer points in the right direction and becomes useless. The SPG-51 and SGP-55 get cued to look in a specific area so they turn and begin a search in rather small field. They quickly find the target and lock onto it. The SPQ-9B greatly reduces the time it takes to cue the SPG-51 (the only one of the two currently used) making it just as good as the SPG-62.
The SPG-62 has a much larger radar signature than the SPG-55 does. The exposed parabolic transmitter dish on the SPG-62 reflects radar very, very, very well and look like a reflector strip on the back of a truck to radar. The transmitter on the SPG-55 is a honeycomb of radar elements that do nor reflect radar back. The exterior shape of the SPG-55 can be covered with a radar absorbent pad the Navy uses to reduce reflection, too.
The 155mm guns (I assume you're talking about AGS) have magazines that are too big to incorporate into the hip/shoulder positions of a heavy cruiser. They would have to be centerline, and even then they would only be able to hold 300 rounds per magazine. I would rather go for for the Mk45 Mod4 that can be fully accommodated in the 5"/38caliber magazine spaces.
We have been finding that enclosing masts does not do a lot of good. It is reducing the resolution aboard the San Antonio-class with its SPS-48. The cover is going to have to be removed if a weapon direction system such as Sea Sparrow is installed aboard that class so it has the resolution it needs to cue up the Mk95 Sea Sparrow illuminators. When weapon direction and not just air search is involved a very high resolution clarity is needed that the SPS-48 cannot provide when covered up. Those covers are like looking through a 2-way mirror. You can see through one side and not the other, but the side you can see through is darker and not very crisp.
Thanks for the interest. I am going to wind up finishing Kentucky and someday make Canberra in 1/350. I have the model, I just need the time. Current projects for the CNO's office such a low-cost solution to our current ASW problem and lack of NGFS are taking up my model building time at the moment.
brentjackson05's avatar
This is very, very well done, quite fitting for the Can-Do Kangaroo. Might I also humbly suggest that sister ship Boston get an overhaul, and perhaps a couple of the Baltimore-class heavy cruisers live long enough in the reserve fleets to get reactivated themselves in this manner......

Adding the AEGIS Combat System would also have the problems of topheaviness (the destroyers and the Spanish and Norwegian frigates with it are bad for this) and power consumption. AEGIS radars output 4 MW of power (that's 4000 kW), and as a result for the Canberra to make this work you'd need far more powerful engines. That's possible, and the drawn setup could easily see the 1500 kW generators swapped out for the system from late-model GM locomotives, each one giving out 4.5 MW (4500 kW). You can't get around the top-heaviness problem, even if you removed the armor belt, which would be impractical.

Best Century 21 modernization for this would be SPG-62 fire control, SPS-67 surface search and SPQ-9B gunfire control radars and improving the space. Moving the Harpoons back to behind the ABLs would all you to build a new forward superstructure, thus giving far more room for electrical components, flag accommodations and other upgrades. You could install a Mark 41 VLS system, but in this case you'd have to cut away the rear armored decks to make it fit, which would be a huge job. I'd also cut down its signature a bit by replacing the SPG-55s with the aforementioned SPG-62s in the rear, enclosed masts for both the SPS-48E and the SPS-49E and redesign the funnel to use warm water to reduce the thermal signature. The enclosed masts also reduce corrosion. I'd also lose the rear whaleboats, as they are just taking up deck space. One other option to think about might be replacing the 5"/38 guns and using 155mm ones instead, using modern base bleed rounds both the main and secondary batteries to improve the range and accuracy of the rounds.
wolfofficer's avatar
questions is how would she Be refitted for the 21st century.. would she get a modernized mast and Aeigis system. the mast would most likely look like the one on the Arther W Radford [link]
wiskybb64's avatar
well, for a 21st century appearance, no, the Radford mast turned out to be only good for the SPS-40 radar. It does not work for any other ones. 3-D radars lik the SPS-48 actually have trouble seeing through it, as on the San Antonio LSDs. Radford's enclosure was to reduce radar signature, and when you have a great, big heavy cruiser, you're going to see it on radar very well no matter what :D so there's no reason to try to hide the masts.

You could put Aegis on it, but that's an awefully expensive way to do what other systems do for a lot less money. A heavy cruiser would be the center of a strike group so it would have a bunch of aegis ships running around with it anyway.