ONE of the most expensive and most powerful warships in the world, sailed into Palma yesterday morning.
The USS Anzio is a $1 billion Ticonderoga Class cruiser and is on her way home from active operations against Iraq.
In fact, the warship was part of the USS Roosevelt battle group, one of two operating in the eastern Mediterranean while three other battle groups struck Iraq from the Gulf. On March 23, the USS Anzio launched its first strike against Iraq, and throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom, acted as a platform for Tomahawk missile strikes against key targets in Iraq. The Anzio is one of 27 $1 billion cruisers which make up the Ticonderoga Class.
The high price of building such warships is because of their state-of-the-art AEGIS combat system, and due to their extensive combat capability they have been designated as Battle Force capable units. The Ticonderoga Class cruisers were the first surface combatant ships to have been equipped with the AEGIS weapons system, the most sophisticated air defence system in the world. Their primary armament is the Vertical Launching System which is able to employ both the long range surface-to-surface Tomahawk Cruise Missile and the Standard surface-to-air-missiles. These multi-mission ships are capable of sustained combat operations in all kinds of warfare environments in support of carrier battle groups, such as its recent role, amphibious assault groups as well as escort missions. Named after the Battle of Anzio, in May 1944, she has a crew of nearly 400, including 340 enlisted, 33 officers and 27 petty officers.
The Battle of Anzio was of great strategic importance in the liberation of Italy, although the Allied forces suffered nearly 28'000 casualties on the beachhead at Anzio where the Allied were pinned down by a vastly superior German force, two corps of which were originally destined to Normandy. The Germans eventually committed 80'000 troops, but finally in May 1944 the Allies broke out and marched on to Rome, ending the six-month stalemate. The USS Anzio is the 22nd cruiser in her class, commissioned on May 2, 1992, and the second ship in the United States Navy to bear her name.
Over the past 11 years, she has spent much of her time in the Baltic and participating in numerous NATO operations.