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USS Lake Erie (CG-70) is a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser of the United States Navy, commissioned in 1993. She was named after the U.S. Navy's decisive victory in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. The cruiser was the first U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned in Hawaii.[5]

USS Lake Erie (CG-70) Pearl Harbor.jpg
USS Lake Erie (CG-70) at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (2007)
United States
Name: Lake Erie
Namesake: Battle of Lake Erie
Awarded: 25 February 1988
Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
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]
Honors and
Battle Effectiveness Award – 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008[2][3][4]
Status: Ship in active service
Badge: USS Lake Erie CG-70 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class and 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)
Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h; 37.4 mph)
Complement: 30 officers and 300 enlisted
Sensors and
processing systems:
Aircraft carried: 2 × Sikorsky SH-60B or MH-60R Seahawk LAMPS III helicopters.


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. 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. 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.

Service with the Constellation battle groupEdit

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 Persian 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 testbedEdit

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.

USS Lake Erie launches an anti-ballistic missile RIM-161 Standard missile 3 III off Kaua'i, Hawaii (2001)
A RIM-161 Standard missile leaves the Lake Erie en route to intercept a short-range ballistic missile launched from Barking Sands Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii

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.

Lake Erie under tow passing under a drawbridge on the Willamette River en route to Portland, Oregon

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 (550 m) of water. Twenty-six of 35 aboard were rescued. Ehime Maru had been on a fishing and research mission when 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.

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.[6]

USS Lake Erie was featured in the 2011 naval thriller, Thunder in the Morning Calm, by Don Brown.[7]

On 14 February 2008 the U.S. Department of Defense announced that as part of Operation Burnt Frost 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]

In August 2014, Lake Erie went to San Diego for an extended maintenance 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 November 2015, investigators noted that a weird culture had developed on board Lake Erie, including a grueling schedule with arbitrary weekend workdays; a supply officer so offensive that he was ordered not to speak to any E-6 or below; a crew that spent hours repeatedly cleaning the same places just to look busy; work done and redone because of miscommunication with the shipyard and the CO storing a goat on board.[13]

On 30 November 2017, Lake Erie arrived in Pearl Harbor following a seven-month deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and the Persian Gulf.[14]


  1. ^ "Ship's Crest". USS Lake Erie (CG-70). Archived from the original on 25 December 2007.
  2. ^ "Rear Admiral Joseph A. Horn, Jr". United States Navy Biography. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  3. ^ 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 20 March 2009.
  4. ^ Lantron, Michael A. (7 March 2008). "Pearl Harbor ships earn Battle "E"" (PDF). Hawai'i Navy News. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2 March 2012.
  5. ^ Buck, Tommy (7 August 2006). "Lake Erie Celebrates 13 Years Of Success On The Seas". Navy News Service. NNS060807-20.
  6. ^ "Cruisers". Haze Gray. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  7. ^ Brown, Don (23 August 2011). Thunder in the Morning Calm. Zondervan. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-310-41043-0.
  8. ^ Mount, Mike (14 February 2008). "Officials: U.S. to try to shoot down errant satellite". CNN. Retrieved 21 February 2008.
  9. ^ Roberts, Kristin (14 February 2008). "Pentagon plans to shoot down disabled satellite". Reuters. Retrieved 21 February 2008.
  10. ^ Shanker, Thom (21 February 2008). "Missile Strikes a Spy Satellite Falling From Its Orbit". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 February 2008.
  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. ^ Larter, David (16 November 2015). "Report: Long hours, a nosy CO & a pet goat aboard cruiser Lake Erie". Military Times. Archived from the original on 2 January 2016.
  14. ^ Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Hans, Lucas (4 December 2017). "USS Lake Erie Arrives in Hawaii". USS Lake Erie (CG-70) Public Affairs. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)

External linksEdit