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US Navy’s first new replenishment oiler hits the water

USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205)
future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205) after launch with a Zumwalt-class and an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the background. Photo: GD NASSCO

General Dynamics-National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD-NASSCO) launched future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), the US Navy’s first-in-class fleet replenishment oiler, on January 12.

With John Lewis (T-AO 205) now in the water, production efforts will focus on final outfitting in support of christening in the spring, and sea trials and delivery in late 2021.

Construction of the future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205) began in the fall of 2018 and utilized more than 18,575 tons of steel to complete. The 742- foot long vessel is designed to transfer fuel to US Navy carrier strike group ships operating at sea, the oilers will feature the capacity to carry 157,000 barrels of oil, a significant dry cargo capacity, aviation capability and up to a speed of 20 knots.

The John Lewis-class ships will be operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command and will add capacity to the Navy’s Combat Logistics Force.

“Recapitalizing our aging fleet replenishment capabilities is a key component of making our naval logistics more agile and resilient,” said Mr. Mike Kosar, Support Ships, Boats and Craft Program Manager, Program Executive Office, Ships. “John Lewis will be a steadfast and reliable ship and we have tremendous momentum behind the program right now. We’re looking forward to delivering this enhanced capability to the fleet.”

GD-NASSCO is also in production on the future USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206), which started construction in August, with delivery planned in 2022, and the future USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207), which started construction in December 2020, with delivery planned in 2023.