General Dynamics-National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD-NASSCO) marked the official start of construction of the future US Navy replenishment oiler USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206) on December 13.
Start of construction is the first major milestone in a shipbuilding program and represents that the first 100 tons of steel for the ship have been cut.
Harvey Milk will be operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command and is the first ship named after the Navy veteran and civil and human rights leader who became the first openly gay elected official in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.
All oilers in the class, six ships on order in total – including the future USNS Harvey Milk – will be named for civil and human rights leaders.
The John Lewis-class ships are based on commercial design standards and will recapitalize the current T-AO 187-class fleet replenishment oilers to provide underway replenishment of fuel to US Navy ships and jet fuel for aircraft assigned to aircraft carriers. These ships are part of the navy’s combat logistics force and will become the backbone of the fuel delivery system.
“This ship will have significant contributions as part of our Combat Logistics Force, serving as the primary fuel pipeline from resupply ports to ships at sea,” said Mike Kosar, Support Ships, Boats and Craft program manager, Program Executive Office, Ships. “Today’s ceremony marks an important milestone as our Navy works to recapitalize our aging fleet replenishment capabilities, ensuring our warfighters have the resources they need to keep them combat year for years to come.”
GD NASSCO is also in production on the first-in-class fleet replenishment oiler, the future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205) and is contracted for ships T-AO 207 – 210 as well as the Expeditionary Sea Base platforms (ESB 6-8).
The navy intends to buy a total of 17 tankers in the class.