|I posted this on the Iowa bites thread, but it deserves it's own:
OK, the Iowa finally has a reason to be resurrected: ENERGY WEAPONS.
We don't have any current platform capable of generating the juice needed for a serious rail gun or laser system, do we? What better hull to put one in? What better hull to protect our initial investments in future weapons while deploying them for real-world trial by fire?
Yes this would be a billion-dollar retrofit to gut Iowa to the hull, drop in GE's latest reactor (better yet - two, or leave room for two) and upgrade everything from propulsion to piping, obviously all new electronics, etc. All new superstructure keeping with the armored heritage of a BB. Perhaps add the naval version of 'slat armor' or even explosive-reactive armor in case a Silkworm or Shipwreck makes it through an upgraded air defense system (multiple twin 57mm or 76mm guns for extended range, with multiple 30mm Goalkeepers too. We got plenty of real estate to work with.)
Now don't forget about the guns. Keep 2 of the 16" turrets and convert the dual 5" mounts into single 155mm AGS guns (or swap a 16" turret for a quad AGS mount).
Remove the cruise missiles and add Standard 3 to augment air/missile defense. Everything from DDs to Ohios and Virginias carry Tomahawks, and the new BB really doesn't need the stand-off range.
We get an untouchable shore-bombardment platform with the energy and capacity for the deployment and development of future weapons.
Do both the Iowa and Wisconsin so one can be deployable for the shore-bombardment role while the other is being fitted/tested with the latest energy weapon.
I'm looking at a 40 year timeframe here. The investment is well worth it.