The ship was propelled by two nuclear reactors, one for each propellor shaft, and was capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots. The high box-like superstructure contained the A/N SPS-32 and SPS-33 phased array radars, early versions of the phased array systems lately installed on Aegis Class Cruisers and Guided Missile Destroyers.
The final weapons suite consisted of:
In October of 1966, Long Beach deployed for the first of a number of cruises to the Western Pacific (WestPac). During this initial cruise, the ship served primarily as the Positive Identification Radar Advisory Zone (PIRAZ) unit in the northern Tonkin Gulf. As such, the main responsibilities of the ship were to "sanitize" returning US air strikes to ensure that no enemy aircraft attempted to evade identification by sneaking out with "friendlies." Additionally, the ship provided support for an on-board Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter unit. During this tour, the ship was responsible for shooting down one soviet-made An-12 Colt aircraft that was attempting to engage South Vietnamese naval units. The shoot-down was actually accomplished by F-4 aircraft under the control of a Long Beach Air Intercept Controller (AIC). The ship returned to Long Beach, California in July of 1967.