Nuclear Submarines and Merchant Ships
Following the war, New York Shipbuilding Corporation moved into the nuclear age, producing a series of nuclear submarines and the first commercial nuclear merchant ship, NS Savannah.
In 1953, the Merritt Chapman Scott Corporation acquired New York Ship, and continued to produce many new warships and merchant vessels. In preparation for building one of the Navy’s large conventionally powered super carriers, New York Ship experienced its last major expansion. A new drydock over 1,100 feet in length was constructed to the south of the original covered shipways.
In December 1956, the super carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) was laid down in the new drydock. At close to 60,000 tons, Kitty Hawk was the largest hull ever launched from New York Ship.
However, not all work involved new construction. The navy’s program for converting WWII cruisers to carry guided missiles brought USS Little Rock (CL-92) to New York Ship. In December 1960, Little Rock emerged as CLG-4, a guided missile light cruiser armed with nuclear tipped “Talos” guided missiles and the latest naval radar systems. Two other cruisers would also be upgraded to missile cruisers at New York Ship.
Such conversion or modernization work kept the skilled yard workers busy through the early 1960’s. Today, Little Rock is preserved as a museum ship in Buffalo, New York.