The US Navy has accepted delivery of its newest Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship whose missions include support for special operations forces and airborne mine countermeasures operations.
The future USNS Miguel Keith (ESB 5) was handed over to its new owners, the Military Sealift Command, on November 15, after starting trials this summer.
The ship was planned for delivery earlier, but it was delayed after sustaining damages while under construction at General Dynamics NASSCO’s facility in San Diego when its dry dock flooded. The incident occurred when a barrier keeping water out of the dock where the ship was being built collapsed.
“The Navy and industry team overcame significant setbacks in the construction of this ship, and I’m extremely proud of the urgency and determination displayed on everyone’s part to deliver a high-quality ship that will support our operational requirements in the 7th Fleet area of operations,” said Capt. Scot Searles, Strategic Sealift and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office Ships.
ESBs include a four-spot flight deck and hangar and a versatile mission deck and are designed around four core capabilities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging support and command and control assets.
ESBs will operate as the component commander requires, providing the US Navy fleet with a critical access infrastructure that supports the flexible deployment of forces and supplies.
The future USNS Miguel Keith is the fifth ship of the broader Montford Point-class. The class is comprised of five ships across two variants in support of the Maritime Prepositioning Force. The first two ships are designated as Expeditionary Transfer Docks.