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USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) ca. the late 1970s.
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class: BLUE RIDGE (AGC/LCC 19)
Design: SCB Project Nos. 400.65 and 400.66
Displacement (tons): 13,038 light, 18,874 full (LCC 19)
Dimensions (feet): 634' oa, 580' wl x 108' e, 82' wl x 27' max nav
Armament: 2-3"50T; (1974) 2-3"50T, 2-MK25 MLS; (19: 1985, 20: 1987) 2-3"50T, 2-MK25 MLS, 2-CIWS; (1992) 2-CIWS; (1998) 2-25mmS, 2-CIWS
Accommodations: 52 officers and 790 enlisted (LCC 19)
Speed (kts.): 22
Propulsion (HP): 22,000
Machinery: Steam turbines, 2 boilers (600psi), 1 screw

Construction:
LCCNameOrdBuilderKeelLaunchComm
19BLUE RIDGE31 Dec 1964NSY Philadelphia27 Feb 19674 Jan 196914 Nov 1970
20MOUNT WHITNEY22 Aug 1966Newport News8 Jan 19698 Jan 197016 Jan 1971

Disposition:
LCCNameTDecommStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale/Depart
19BLUE RIDGEIn Comm. 2021--------
20MOUNT WHITNEYIn Comm. 2021--------

Class Notes:
Work on a new AGC began with a study of a Mariner-class conversion in 1960. An early AGC design, SCB Design No. 248, utilized the AFS 1 hull and machinery, a much enlarged superstructure, and several tall masts. On 10 July 1963 a first Ship Characteristics Board working level meeting was held on the new AGC, now SCB Design No. 400.65. BUSHIPS Code 420 (the Preliminary Design Branch) presented its work on the design based on the AFS, but Code 450 (the Electronic-Electrical Design Branch) announced that it had just decided that it would require a flat-top configuration to provide a ground plane for antenna performance with minimum topside structure and absolutely no running rigging of any sort exposed to electronic radiation. (This also required putting the boats in sponsons and locating the helicopter hanger and shops below decks with an elevator.) After trying unsuccessfully to adapt the AFS 1 hull, Code 420 shifted to the LPH 2 hull as a more promising basis for the design, giving it a centerline bridge structure instead of an island. The substitution of a conversion, either of a P2-SE2-R1 (AP 120) troop transport, a CVL-22 class AVT, or CC-3 (ex AVT 6, ex CVL 48) was then considered, but by 20 November 1963 all work focused on the new construction design based on the LPH 2 hull. Approved characteristics for an Amphibious Force Flagship (AGC), SCB Project No. 400.65, were promulgated on 24 January 1964 and updated as SCB Project No. 400.66 on 18 September 1964 with a final change on 28 August 1969. The complex final design was characterized as embodying the combined approximate characteristics of two shore based communication stations in a single hull.

On 14 Sep 1968 SECNAV directed the redesignation of AGCs, AKAs, and APAs to LCCs, LKAs, and LPAs. OPNAV notice of 25 Sep 1968 stated that LCC 19-20, then building, were to be reclassified to LCC on dates determined by NAVSHIPS. A NAVSEA letter of 1 Oct 1968 requested officials at Newport News and Philadelphia to implement the new system on the AGCs they were building, and 1 Oct 1968 became the reclassification date for LCC 19-20. [SAC 12] A third ship of this design (AGC 21) was planned; she was to have been designed from the outset for both amphibious force and fleet command functions while the first two were primarily fitted for amphibious forces. [Friedman Phibs p.429:] A new study of amphibious flagships followed in Feb 1967 to Apr 1968. A third LCC was to be built under the FY 69 program, but on 9 Feb 1968 a Navy proposal to slip her to FY 70 was approved. As of early 1969 construction of the third new LCC had not yet been approved for FY 70, funds being withheld pending a study of alternatives, and the ship was not built.

Ship Notes:
LCCNameMANotes
19BLUE RIDGEFY 1965. Name assigned as AGC, to LCC 19 1 Oct 1968. Based at Yokosuka, Japan, in 2021 supporting the US Pacific Fleet.
20MOUNT WHITNEYFY 1966. To LCC 20 1 Oct 1968, name assigned 11 Dec 1968 as LCC. Based at Gaeta, Italy, in 2021 supporting the US Atlantic Fleet.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 29 Jul 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021
Sources: DB, Maroon, NVR, PHS