The U.S. Navy on May 22 said that it awarded General Dynamics’ National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) [GD] $736 million on May 19 for construction of the T-AO 213 oiler.

The Navy said on May 22 that work on T-AO 213 is expected to finish by March 2028.

In 2016, the Navy awarded NASSCO a contract to design and build the first six John Lewis-class oilers, T-AO 205 – T-AO 210, and awarded NASSCO a contract modification last year for the construction of two additional John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oilers (T-AO 211 and 212), “with the option for the Navy to procure an additional oiler, T-AO 213 which was included in the 2023 defense budget,” GD said.

The John Lewis-class oilers are to replace the Henry J. Kaiser-class oilers (T-AO-187) operated by Military Sealift Command to provide up to 162,000 barrels of oil for underway Navy ships and jet fuel for planes on aircraft carriers. The new oilers also provide some dry cargo capacity, aviation capability and can travel up to 20 knots.

The new T-AO 205 class are designed with double hulls and strengthened cargo and ballast tanks to help protect against oil spills. The Navy plans to buy 20 new oilers.

Last Dec. 5, construction began on USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208), the fourth in the John Lewis-class (Defense Daily, Dec. 6, 2022).

NASSCO is in production on the USNS Lucy Stone (T-AO 209) and two Expeditionary Sea Base ships (ESB), the future USS John L. Canley (ESB-6) and USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB 7).

The company also has the future USNS Sojourner Truth (T-AO 210), Thurgood Marshall (T-AO 211) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (T-AO 212) and ESB-8 under contract.

According to the Navy’s fiscal year 2023 budget request, procurement costs for the oilers covering FY ‘23 to FY ‘27 range from $679 million to $795 million each.

The first six John Lewis-class oilers were procured under a block buy contract from the FY ‘16 defense authorization act.

Last July, the Navy accepted delivery of the first ship in the new class, the USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205) (Defense Daily, July 29, 2022).