The Navy accepted delivery of the third Expeditionary Sea Base, the USNS Miguel Keith (T-ESB-5), on Nov. 15, the Navy said on Monday.
The Michael Keith as an ESB will be operated and owned by Military Sealift Command.
ESBs are modular vessels that can support various maritime missions including special operations, airborne mine counter-measures, humanitarian support, and other traditional military missions. They have a range of 9,500 nautical miles and can travel at up to 15 knots.
These ships have a four spot flight deck and hangar and flexible mission deck. The ships are designed around four main capacities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging support, and command and control assets.
“ESBs will operate as the component commander requires providing the U.S. Navy fleet with a critical access infrastructure that supports the flexible deployment of forces and supplies,” the Navy said in a statement.
Last month, the Navy said it tested a mine countermeasure (MCM) mission package on the USNS Hershel “Woody” William (T-ESB-4) in September. The MCM capabilities include both surface and undersea unmanned vehicles (Defense Daily, Nov. 19).
Capt. Scot Searles, Strategic Sealift and Theater Sealift program manager in Program Executive Office Ships, welcomed the delivery and noted it will support operations in the 7th Fleet area of operations. The 7th Fleet is the forward-deployed part of the Pacific Fleet, based in Yokosuka, Japan.
“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 operation,” Searles said.
General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO) [GD] built T-ESB-5 at its shipyard n San Diego. The company is also under contract to design and construct T-ESB-6 and 7, with an option for ESB-8.
GD NASSCO held a keel laying ceremony for ESB-5 in early 2018 and finished acceptance trials on Oct. 11 off the coast of Southern California (Defense Daily, Oct. 18).