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What Would a 21st Century Battleship Look Like?

The fictional USS Montana would pack a modern battlewagon's wallop.

Warship, Naval ship, Battleship, Vehicle, Heavy cruiser, Destroyer, Cruiser, Boat, Ship, Guided missile destroyer,
US Navy photo.

During the decades between the turn of the 20th century up until World War II, battleships ruled the waves. Heavily armored and bristling with powerful 16 to 18-inch guns, battleships were an essential part of a modern navy—that is, until the aircraft carrier came along. The last battleship ever commissioned, HMS Vanguard, entered service in 1946.

Battleships were undone by their powerful but relatively short-ranged guns, which ranged up to 20 miles compared to the hundreds of miles that a torpedo or dive bomber based on an aircraft carrier could travel. But what if we built a battleship today with modern technology?

Robert Farley, professor of international relations at the University of Kentucky and author of The Battleship Book, has designed a fictional USS Montana (BBG-72), ditching the heavy guns in favor of railguns, vertical launch silos, and lasers. (As Farley notes, Montana is the only state that never had a battleship named after it.)

Farley's battleship Montana is a beast, with two railguns, 500 vertical launch silos for missiles, and lasers for close-in defenses. Montana would have an Air and Missile Defense Radar for detecting, tracking, and engaging aerial threats, and everything would be powered by onboard nuclear reactors. The result is a 30,000-ton super ship capable of bombarding targets at up to 200 miles, unleashing land attack salvoes and antiship cruise missiles, and downing everything from enemy aircraft to incoming ballistic missiles.

What would it cost? Would it even be worth building? Head on over to Foxtrot Alpha for the full story.

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