Manufacturer: Philadelphia Naval Shipyard; Newport News Shipbuilding
Propulsion: Two boilers, one geared turbine, one shaft
Speed: 23 knots
Crew: 34 officers, 564 enlisted
The Blue Ridge Class Amphibious Command ships provide the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps with command and control for fleet commanders.
Commissioned in 1971, these are the only ships to be designed initially for an amphibious command ship role. Earlier amphibious command ships lacked sufficient speed to keep up with a 20-knot amphibious force. Subsequently, both ships became fleet flagships. USS Blue Ridge became the Seventh Fleet command ship in 1979, and USS Mount Whitney became the Second Fleet command ship in 1981, and the Sixth Fleet command ship in February 2005.
USS Blue Ridge and USS Mount Whitney’s service lives were extended in 2011 by the Chief of Naval Operation to 2039. An Extended Service Life Program (ESLP) is being executed jointly by NAVSEA and Military Sealift Command. ESLP is focused on ensuring the platforms can support the full range of mission requirements for an embarked numbered fleet commander.
The program provides for the repair and overhaul of systems/equipment, replacement of obsolete equipment, and modernization of selected systems, spaces, and equipment to be included in an extended service life program. Major areas of improvement will be shipboard electrical generation and distribution, HVAC upgrades, operational space optimization, habitability and safety modifications, and corrosion control.
Ships in class:
USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), Yokosuka, Japan
USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), Gaeta, Italy