The Navy’s first ship in a new class of fleet replenishment oilers, the USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), finished acceptance trials on April 25, the service said Monday.
The trials included in-port and at-sea demonstrations allowing the Navy and the shipbuilder to assess ship systems and readiness before T-AO 205 is delivered to the Navy.
The John Lewis-class ships are being built by General Dynamics’ [GD] National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) in San Diego. They will be operated by Military Sealift Command and are used to provide fuel, lubricating oil, fuel for embarked aircraft, small quantities of provisions, stores and potable water to Navy ships at sea.
This new class will have the capability to carry up to 162,000 barrels of oil, feature an aviation capability and can travel at up to 20 knots. The ships have double hulls to protect against oil spills and are 742 feet long with a displacement of nearly 50,000 tons.
T-AO 205-class oilers are based on commercial design standards and are meant to recapitalize the current T-AO 187-class replenishment oilers.
“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. We are excited to welcome the USNS John Lewis to the fleet,” John Lighthammer, program manager, Auxiliary and Special Mission Shipbuilding Program Office, said in a statement.
The ship is named after former Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights activist and long-time member of Congress who died in 2020.
In February, the John Lewis completed initial builder’s trials (Defense Daily, Feb. 8).
Separately, NASSCO laid the keel for the future USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207), the third oiler in the class, on April 30.
Keel laying is the recognition of the official start of ship construction, joining together of a ship’s modular components and authentication in a ceremonial keel plate.
“We are looking forward to getting these ships to the fleet to support at-sea operations. This new class of oilers are bringing much needed capability and capacity to the fleet,” Lighthammer added during the ceremony.
NASSCO is also in production on the future USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206) and USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208) while the future USNS Lucy Stone (T-AO 209) and USNS Sojourner Truth (T-AO 210) are under contract.