The first ship in the U.S. Navy’s new class of fleet replenishment oilers has been launched at General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego.
The John Lewis-class oilers will provide underway replenishment of fuel to U.S. Navy ships at sea. The Navy awarded General Dynamics NASSCO with the contract in 2016 for the detailed design and construction of the next generation of fleet oilers. The contract is for the construction of six ships.
Construction of the first ship, the future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), has been underway at NASSCO since 2018.
John Lewis will be operated by Military Sealift Command and crewed by mostly civilian mariners. It is the first ship named after the late civil rights leader and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, U.S. Representative John Lewis. All six planned T-AO 205s will named after civil rights leaders.
The John Lewis-class vessels will have capacity to carry 157,000 barrels of oil, significant dry cargo capacity, aviation capability, and have a top speed of 20 knots. The vessels measure 742-feet in length with full load displacement of 49,850 tons.
U.S. Navy oilers are critical to the Navy’s ability to operate in forward-deployed areas. In addition to transferring fuel to Navy surface ships at sea, the oilers also provide things like lubricants, fresh water, and small amounts of dry cargo.
The John Lewis-class ships are based on commercial design standards and will recapitalize the current T-AO 187-class fleet replenishment oilers.
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