The Navy will christen the missile range instrumentation ship USNS Howard O. Lorenzen on Saturday, June 26, 2010, during a 1 p.m. CDT ceremony at VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Miss. The ship honors the late Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) electrical engineer who was instrumental in the creation of our nation's electronic intelligence capabilities.
Vice Adm. David J. Dorsett, deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance, willdeliver the ceremony's principal address. Susan Lorenzen Black, daughter of the ship's namesake, is the sponsor, and in accordance with Navy tradition, will break a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship.
Considered by many to be the 'Father of Electronic Warfare,' Lorenzen's accomplishments include developments in radar, electronic countermeasures systems and intelligence satellite designs. Lorenzen led the Galactic Radiation and Background (GRAB) program, the earliest successful reconnaissance satellite program and the first electronic intelligence satellite. NRL began the classified GRAB program shortly after the U-2 incident of 1960 to obtain information on Soviet air defense radars that could not be observed by military aircraft.
Designated T-AGM 25, Howard O. Lorenzen will provide a platform for monitoring missile launches and collecting data that can be used to improve missile efficiency and accuracy. Like the Navy's two current missile range instrumentation ships – USNS Observation Island and USNS Invincible – T-AGM 25 will be operated by Military Sealift Command (MSC) and conduct missions sponsored by the Air Force.
Built by VT Halter Marine Inc., in Pascagoula, the 12,575-ton ship is 534 feet in length, with a beam of 89 feet. As part of MSC's special mission program, Howard O. Lorenzen is designated as a United States Naval Ship (USNS) and will have a combined crew of civilian mariners who will operate and navigate the ship, and military and civilian technicians from other government agencies who will operate shipboard monitoring equipment.