The first Navy cruisers were sailing warships designed for fast and agile maneuvering, being able to sustain for long voyages. Sail evolved to steam and diesel power. Now, modern navy cruisers are nuclear powered.
Regardless of their energy source, all cruisers built between the 1930s and the early 1980s put Navy veterans at risk of serious health problems since these vessels were built with asbestos.
Cruisers replaced the battleship after World War II. Now, cruisers are the largest American warships next to aircraft carriers. Battleships were unable to properly defend against enemy air attacks.
Cruisers, however, were easily modified for effective anti-aircraft weaponry in addition to bombarding ship and shore positions as battleships could.
Today’s sophisticated guided-missile cruisers are state-of-the-art weapons that work in conjunction with an entire battle fleet. Cruiser roles include air, surface, subsurface and long-range land striking capability with Tomahawk cruise missiles.
U.S. Navy cruiser variations include:
- Armored Cruisers
- Aircraft Cruisers
- Auxiliary Cruisers
- Battle Cruisers
- Command Cruisers
- Guided Missile Cruisers
- Heavy Cruisers
- Hunter-Killer Cruisers
- Light Cruisers
- Nuclear Cruisers
While asbestos was favored on ships for many reasons, exposure is now known to cause deadly health problems — including the incurable cancer mesothelioma.