Future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), the lead ship of the US Navy’s new class of fleet replenishment oilers, conducted acceptance trials on April 25, in one of several shipbuilding milestones celebrated by the navy in late April.
Acceptance trials consist of a series of in-port and at-sea demonstrations that allow the navy and the shipbuilder, General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), to assess the ship’s systems and readiness prior to delivery to the navy.
Following the trials for USNS John Lewis, NASSCO also hosted keel-laying ceremonies for future USS John L. Canley (ESB 6), the navy’s fourth Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship, and future USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207), the 3rd John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oiler.
“The John Lewis-class oilers will add capacity to the Navy’s Combat Logistics Force and become the cornerstone of the fuel delivery system at sea,” said John Lighthammer, program manager, Auxiliary and Special Mission Shipbuilding Program Office. “We are excited to welcome the USNS John Lewis to the fleet.”
NASSCO hosted the keel-laying ceremony for future USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207) on April 30.
The John Lewis-class T-AOs will be operated by Military Sealift Command to provide fuel and lubricating oil, and small quantities of fresh and frozen provisions, stores, and potable water to Navy ships at sea, and fuel for the embarked aircraft.
The oilers feature the capacity to carry barrels of oil, a significant dry cargo capacity, aviation capability and a speed of 20 knots. NASSCO designed the new vessels with double hulls to protect against oil spills and strengthened cargo and ballast tanks.
Fourth US Navy ESB honors Medal of Honor Recipient Marine
The keel-laying ceremony for the fourth Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) also occurred on April 30 at GD-NASSCO’s shipyard in San Diego.
The ship is named for Medal of Honor Recipient Marine Corps Sergeant Major (Retired) John L. Canley.
Canley was awarded the nation’s highest honor 50 years after his actions serving as Company Gunnery Sergeant, Company A, First Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam during the Battle of Hue City.
“Sergeant Major Canley’s story is one of service, honor, and commitment. All those who serve aboard his namesake ship will carry on his distinguished legacy,” said Tim Roberts, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office, Ships. “These mobile, modular sea base ships are optimized to support the needs of our Sailors and Marines while providing critical access in the maritime domain.”
Expeditionary Sea Base ships are highly flexible platforms used across a broad range of military operations supporting multiple operational phases. Acting as a mobile sea base, they are a part of the critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to provide prepositioned equipment and sustainment with adaptable distribution capability.
These ships support aviation mine countermeasure and special operations force missions. In addition to the flight deck, the ESB has a hangar with two aviation operating spots capable of handling MH-53E equivalent helicopters, accommodations, workspaces, and ordnance storage for embarked force, enhanced command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I). These ships support embarked force mission planning and execution and has a reconfigurable mission deck area to store embarked force equipment, including mine sleds and rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs).
NASSCO is currently in production on USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206), USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207), and USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208). The future USNS Lucy Stone (T-AO 209) and USNS Sojourner Truth (T-AO 210) are under contract. NASSCO is also currently in production of two Expeditionary Sea Bases (ESB) – the future USS John L. Canley (ESB 6) and USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB 7).