An arsenal ship is a concept for a floating missile platform intended to have as many as five hundred vertical launch bays for mid-sized missiles, most likely cruise missiles. In current US naval thinking, such a ship would initially be controlled remotely by an Aegis Cruiser, although plans include control by AWACS aircraft such as the E-2 Hawkeye and E-3 Sentry.
Proposed by the US Navy in 1996, it has since had funding problems, with the United States Congress cancelling some funding, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) providing some funding to individual contractors for prototypes. Some concept artwork of the Arsenal Ship was produced, some images bearing the number "72", possibly hinting at an intent to classify the arsenal ships as a battleship, since the last battleship ordered (but never built) was USS Louisiana (BB-71).
The U.S. Navy has since modified the four oldest Ohio-class Trident submarines to SSGN configuration, allowing them to carry up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles using vertical launching systems installed in the tubes which previously held strategic ballistic missiles.
In 2013, Huntington Ingalls Industries revived the idea when it proposed a Flight II version of the LPD-17 hull with a variant carrying up to 288 VLS cells for the ballistic missile defense and precision strike missions.
- Katz, Daniel (11 April 2014). "Introducing the Ballistic Missile Defense Ship". Aviation Week. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
Cavas, Christopher P. (8 April 2013). "HII Shows Off New BMD Ship Concept at Sea-Air-Space (Updated with video!)". Defense Daily. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
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- Holzer, Robert with Pat Cooper. "Warships May Use Leaner Crews: Report Recommends Additional Firepower for U.S. Navy Vessels." Defense News, (29 January – 4 February 1996): 4.
- Holzer, Robert. "U.S. Navy Eyes Options as Arsenal Ship Takes Shape." Defense News, (5–11 February 1996): 20.
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- U.S. Department of Defense. Arsenal Ship...21st Century Battleship. Brief prepared by OPNAV (N86). Washington, D.C.: 23 May 1996.
- U.S. Department of Defense. Arsenal Ship Program. Joint memorandum signed by Larry Lynn, John W. Douglass and J.M. Boorda. Washington, D.C.: 18 March 1996.
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- U.S. Department of Defense. The Arsenal Ship. Brief prepared by OPNAV (N86). Washington, D.C.: 29 August 1996.