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Howard O. Lorenzen (T-AGM-25)


The first U.S. Navy ship named for Dr. Howard O. Lorenzen (1912–2000). For additional information see NRL Scientist Commemorated in Launch of Namesake USNS Howard O. Lorenzen nrl-scientist-commemorated-in-launch-of-namesake-usns-howard-o-lorenzen.

(T-AGM-25: displacement 12,642; length 534'; beam 89'; draft 21'; speed 20 knots; complement 31; armament none; class Howard O. Lorenzen)

Howard O. Lorenzen (T-AGM-25) was laid down on 13 August 2008 at Moss Point, Miss., by Halter Marine, Inc.; launched on 30 June 2010; sponsored by Mrs. Susan L. Black, daughter of the late Dr. Lorenzen; and was placed in service with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) on 10 January 2012.

Howard O. Lorenzen (T-AGM-25) 2012-Seal


The blue and white checkerboard suggests countermeasures used in electronic warfare, symbolizing Dr. Lorenzen’s accomplishments in this field while employed as an electrical engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory. The shape of the shield is borrowed from the laboratory’s seal and underscores his 33 years with that agency. The satellite is a representation of the GRAB I, the first in an electronic intelligence satellite program that Lorenzen led shortly after the U-2 incident of 1960. The white border is emblematic of honor and alludes to Lorenzen’s dedication and character as an appointed superintendent of space systems for the laboratory.


The embowed arms represent the military and civilian mariners and technicians from various government agencies who operate the ship and conduct her missions. It is a joint effort by all to improve missile efficiency and accuracy, and this is represented by both the armored and plain-clothed arms clutching a lightning bolt. Both arms are clothed in blue which denotes the determination of the crew. The lightning bolt represents the overall mission and is colored red to symbolize warfare.


The red lightning bolts represent quick response and state of the art technology. The cobras symbolize the Cobra Judy Replacement radar system. Armed and eyed red, the cobras also symbolize warfare.

Howard O. Lorenzen is a missile range instrumentation ship that supports ballistic missile treaty verification worldwide. She is equipped with high-quality, dual-band active electronically scanned radar antennas as part of the Cobra Judy Replacement program. The Navy announced the program’s initial operational capability on board the ship on 31 March 2014. The Cobra Judy Replacement radar suite consists of steerable, instrument-quality S- and X-band phased arrays, greatly expanding the data collection capability over the original system — which was deployed in 1981 and had reached the end of its service life.

“We’re very excited to achieve initial operational capability,” Capt. Roderick Wester, Cobra Judy Replacement major program manager, Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems, explained. “This critical milestone is a testament to years of dedicated work from the government-industry team. Cobra Judy Replacement, with its advanced radar suite, will provide enhanced operational capabilities for decades.”

The USAF meanwhile assumed operational and sustainment responsibility for Howard O. Lorenzen, which was designated Cobra King to identify the program’s “platform.” The ship subsequently replaced Observation Island (T-AGM-23) in her missile range instrumentation duties after Observation Island was stricken on 31 March 2014.

Howard O. Lorenzen (T-AGM-25) 2012-MSC
Howard O. Lorenzen’s massive S- and X-band phased radar arrays stand out prominently in this port view of the ship. (Unattributed or dated U.S. Navy photograph, Howard O. Lorenzen (T-AGM-25), Ship Inventory, MSC)

Detailed history under construction.

Mark L. Evans

28 December 2015

Published: Mon Jan 11 13:36:52 EST 2016