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USS Lake Erie (CG-70)

USS Lake Erie (CG-70)
USS Lake Erie docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
USS Lake Erie (CG-70) docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in July 2004.
United States
Namesake: Battle of Put-in-Bay
Awarded: 25 February 1988
Builder: Bath Iron Works
Laid down: 6 March 1990
Launched: 13 July 1991
Acquired: 12 March 1993
Commissioned: 24 July 1993
Homeport: San Diego, California U.S.
Motto: "Courage, Determination, Peace"[1] "Don't Give Up the Ship"[2]
Honors and
Battle Effectiveness Award – 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008[3][4][5]
Status: in active service, as of 2016
General characteristics
Class & type: Ticonderoga-class cruiser
Displacement: Approx. 9,600 long tons (9,800 t) full load
Length: 567 feet (173 m)
Beam: 55 feet (16.8 meters)
Draft: 34 feet (10.2 meters)
  • 4 × General Electric LM2500 gas turbine engines, 80,000 shaft horsepower (60,000 kW)
  • 2 × controllable-reversible pitch propellers
  • 2 × rudders
Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h; 37.4 mph)
Complement: 33 officers, 27 Chief Petty Officers, and approx. 340 enlisted
Sensors and
processing systems:
Aircraft carried: 2 × Sikorsky SH-60B or MH-60R Seahawk LAMPS III helicopters.

USS Lake Erie (CG-70) is a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser of the United States Navy, named after the U.S. Navy's decisive victory in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. She is the first U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned in Hawaii.[6]

The USS Lake Erie is a baseline 4 Ticonderoga class ship, with integrated AN/UYK-43/44 computers (in place of UYK-7 and UYK-20) and superset computer programs originally developed for the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers. The Lake Erie also has an improved UYS-20 data display system and various decision aids, as well as the SQS-53C sonar and the SQR-19 sonar data processor.


  • History 1
    • Service with the Constellation battle group 1.1
    • Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System testbed 1.2
      • Interception of United States satellite USA-193 1.2.1
      • Homeport Change and Reassignment 1.2.2
  • In Fiction and Literature 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The Lake Erie was built by Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. Her keel was laid on 6 March 1990 and she was launched on 13 July 1991. Upon completion of her sea-trials after construction, Lake Erie transferred to the Pacific Fleet and was commissioned on 24 July 1993 as the twenty-fourth Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser in her homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Service with the Constellation battle group

As part of a seven ship battle group, led by the aircraft carrier Constellation, Lake Erie entered the Persian Gulf 11 January 1995. Along with the Constellation battle group, Lake Erie deployed 10 November 1994 and spent most of December in the western Pacific. The arrival of Constellation and her escorts strengthened the U.S. presence in the gulf and supported U.N. initiatives in the region, including Operation Southern Watch. In March Lake Erie took part in a two-week, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman 5 February to 19 February to gather data and evaluate tactics to counter the growing threat of third-world diesel submarines. For purposes of the exercise the US submarine Topeka simulated a diesel submarine, while Lake Erie and Vandegrift rounded out the surface forces. The first week of the exercise took place in the southern Persian Gulf, while the second week was held outside the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf of Oman. Lake Erie and the other ships of the Constellation battle group returned home in May.

During a deployment with the Constellation battle group in July 1997, Chosin turned over the duties of being regional Air Defense Commander to Lake Erie . In early August 1997 Lake Erie was involved in two major Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (TBMD) exercises in the Persian Gulf named Arabian Skies. During the exercises Constellation‍ '​s battle group demonstrated a viable TBMD capability using the existing command and control architecture. Lake Erie then departed 5th Fleet's Area of Responsibility (AOR) 17 August 1997 on schedule to continue her routine six-month deployment in the waters of the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. On 16 May 1998 Lake Erie returned to the Persian Gulf with elements of the Constellation battle group before she concluded her tour in the 5th Fleet with a joint-combined exercise with military forces from Pakistan. Dubbed "Inspired Siren 97-2" and "Inspired Alert 97-2," the exercises incorporated both surface combatants and air components, respectively. The purpose of this four-day training mission was to exercise the joint-combined naval and air capabilities of both countries, improve their respective levels of readiness and interoperability, and enhance military relations between the two nations.

Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System testbed

In August 1998, as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, modifications were made aboard Lake Erie and Port Royal, which consisted of modifications to the Aegis weapons system on board Ticonderoga-class cruisers; a modification, known as Linebacker, and which uses specialized computing and radar software and hardware to provide improved tracking and reporting capabilities, and when coupled with the SM-2 Block IVA, intercept Tactical Ballistic Missiles (TBM). Ballistic missile testing afforded Port Royal and other participants an opportunity to flex the capabilities of the current Aegis weapon system against a live ballistic missile target and gave a representation of how the modified system tracks and destroys TBMs.

The USS Lake Erie launches a Standard Missile III off Kaua'i, Hawaii, 25 January 2001. The RIM-161 Standard missile 3 (SM-3) provides Lake Erie with the capability to shoot down ballistic missiles.

Lake Erie and Port Royal were then to conduct at sea testing, develop core doctrine and tactics, and serve as focal points for putting the TBMD technology in the hands of the warfighters in the rest of the fleet. Sailors on board both ships were also to provide early feedback to the technical community and influence the final design of the TBMD system. Successful Linebacker sea trials at the Pacific Missile Range, Kauai, Hawaii took place in the fall of 1998.

On 17 December 1999, Lake Erie returned to her homeport at Naval Station Pearl Harbor after completing a six-month deployment to the western Pacific and Persian Gulf. The guided missile cruiser had once more deployed with the Constellation battle group.

In March 2000, the US Navy began ALI live fire tests and had successfully conducted the first Controlled Test Vehicle. Shiloh had conducted the first ALI live firing test in September 1999 and had successfully demonstrated the launch and flight sequence through third stage separation as well as verified flight stability at extreme altitude. Though the original plan had been to conduct all Flight Test Round shots from Shiloh, the need for further testing conflicted with her operational schedule. Therefore, it was decided by the Chief of Naval Operations to shift to Lake Erie to conduct the next firings in the ALI testing program. Lake Erie, already equipped with Area Linebacker modifications, was, as of 2 March 2000, receiving ALI equipment modifications in Pearl Harbor and was to conduct system checks and training to support the planned test firings.

In early July 2000, the US Navy announced that Lake Erie had been designated the Navy's theater-wide test ship for the AEGIS Lightweight Exoatmospheric Projectile intercept flight-test series. For the next two years, Lake Erie would be dedicated to conducting these critical tests. Lake Erie’s home port in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, made the ship's participation in tests at the Pacific Missile Range Facility off Kauai cost-effective with the Navy anticipating that the ship would not deploy operationally again for about two years.

The Lake Erie passes under a drawbridge on the Willamette River en route to Portland, Oregon, for the 97th Annual Rose Festival.

In January 2001, Lake Erie conducted the Aegis Light Exo-Atmospheric Projectile (LEAP) Intercept Flight Test Round (FTR-1A) mission in the mid-Pacific using the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii. Equipped with Aegis LEAP Intercept (ALI) computer programs and hardware, Lake Erie launched an SM-3 missile demonstrating third stage airframe stability and control through nominal kinetic warhead fourth stage separation. The SM-3 is the Navy's new exo-atmospheric missile developed to counter theater ballistic missile (TBM) threats outside the atmosphere.

On 9 February 2001 Lake Erie sortied from Pearl Harbor to assist along with Coast Guard boats and cutters with rescue efforts after the attack submarine Greeneville struck a Japanese fishing vessel while surfacing at approximately 1:45 pm (HST) about nine miles south of the Diamond Head crater off Honolulu, Hawaii. The fishing vessel, named Ehime Maru, rapidly flooded and sank within 10 minutes in 1,800 feet of water. Twenty-six of 35 aboard were rescued. Ehime Maru had been on a fishing and research mission when the Greeneville rapidly surfaced and collided with her stern. At the time of the accident the Los Angeles-class submarine was conducting an "emergency ballast tank blow," a procedure used to bring subs to the surface in the event of an emergency. In this case it was used for training, on a one-day cruise with 16 military and civilian guests.

A Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) leaves the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) en route to intercept a short-range ballistic missile target, launched from PMRF, Kauai, HI.

On 25 January 2002 the Missile Defense Agency and the Navy conducted a successful flight test in the continuing development of a Sea-Based Midcourse (SMD) Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Flight Mission-2 (FM-2) involved the launch of a developmental Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) and kinetic warhead (KW) interceptor from Lake Erie and an Aries target missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. The target was launched at 18:00 (EST) 26 January. About eight minutes later, Lake Erie, equipped with Aegis Lightweight Exo-atmospheric Projectile (LEAP) computer programs and equipment, and having tracked the target with the Aegis SPY-1 radar and developed a fire-control solution, launched the newly developed SM-3. The SM-3 acquired, tracked and diverted toward the target, demonstrating SM-3 fourth-stage Kinetic Warhead (KW) guidance, navigation and control. Although not a primary objective, during this early developmental test, the KW was aimed at the target, resulting in a hit-to-kill intercept at approximately 18:18 (EST).

The primary objective of this test was to evaluate SM-3 fourth-stage Kinetic Warhead guidance, navigation and control, with extensive engineering evaluation data collected for analyses in preparation for future flight tests. It was the fourth in a planned series of nine developmental test flights for the SMD program. The mission also included the first fully operational SM-3 with a live Solid Divert and Attitude Control System to steer the KW into the target.

In March 2003 she was assigned to Cruiser-Destroyer Group One.[7]

Interception of United States satellite USA-193

Missile launching from the USS Lake Erie, on 20 February 2008.

On 14 February 2008 the U.S. Department of Defense announced that the Lake Erie and two other ships would attempt to hit the failed satellite USA-193 in the north Pacific just prior to burn up during a period after 20 February using a modified SM-3 missile.[8][9] On 21 February 2008, at approximately 3:30 UTC, the missile was fired and later confirmed to have struck the satellite. The military intended that the kinetic energy of the missile would rupture the hydrazine fuel tank allowing the toxic fuel to be consumed during re-entry.[10]

Homeport Change and Reassignment

In August 2014, Lake Erie went to San Diego for an extended maintence period. Lake Erie was expected to replace John Paul Jones as a rotational Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) deployer after the maintenance period.[11][12]

In Fiction and Literature

USS Lake Erie is featured in the 2011 naval thriller, Thunder in the Morning Calm, by Don Brown.[13]


  1. ^ "Ship's Crest". USS Lake Erie (CG-70). Archived from the original on 2007-12-25. 
  2. ^ "Ship's Gallery". USS Lake Erie (CG-70). Archived from the original on 2008-10-20. 
  3. ^ "Rear Admiral Joseph A. Horn, Jr.". United States Navy Biography. Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  4. ^ Donnelly, Teresa (23 February 2007). "Russell, Lake Erie win Battle ‘E’ Award" (PDF). Hawai'i Navy News 32 (7). Archived from the original (pdf) on 2009-03-20. 
  5. ^ Lantron, Michael A. (7 March 2008). """Pearl Harbor ships earn Battle "E (PDF). Hawai'i Navy News 33 (9). Archived from the original (pdf) on 2012-03-02. 
  6. ^ Buck, Tommy (7 August 2006). "Lake Erie Celebrates 13 Years Of Success On The Seas". Navy News Service. NNS060807-20. 
  7. ^ "Cruisers". Haze Gray. Retrieved May 2012. 
  8. ^ Mount, Mike (14 February 2008). "Officials: U.S. to try to shoot down errant satellite".  
  9. ^ Roberts, Kristin (14 February 2008). "Pentagon plans to shoot down disabled satellite".  
  10. ^ Shanker, Thom (21 February 2008). "Missile Strikes a Spy Satellite Falling From Its Orbit".  
  11. ^ "USS Preble, USS John Paul Jones Join Pearl Harbor Ohana NNS140816-01". Navy News Service. 16 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "USS John Paul Jones to Replace USS Lake Erie in Hawaii; USS Preble also moving to Aloha State NNS140107-05". Navy News Service. 7 January 2014. 
  13. ^ in novelErieGoogle Books reference to USS Thunder in the Morning Calm
  • This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain. The entry can be found here.

External links

  • "Official web site". 
  • "USS Lake Erie (CG-70)". Navy Site. 
  • Cole, William (21 June 2006). "Ship-based interceptor to be tested off Kaua'i".  
  • "MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS)".  
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