NASSCO Delivers the USNS Soderman

Wednesday, September 25, 2002
National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE:GD), today announced the delivery of the USNS Soderman (T-AKR 317) to the U.S. Navy. The Soderman is the eighth and final new construction ship completed by NASSCO under the U.S. Navy's Strategic Sealift Program. "Delivery of the Soderman concludes a very successful long-term contract for the Navy," said Richard Vortmann, President of NASSCO. "All eight strategic sealift ships were completed prior to their contract delivery dates and delivered below their target cost at an unprecedented level of quality. This was an exceptionally productive partnership between the Navy and NASSCO." The eight newbuilds were completed at NASSCO from 1993 to 2002 under the Navy's 20-ship Strategic Sealift Program. All of the ships were named for U.S. Army Medal of Honor recipients. The USNS Soderman was named for Private First Class William A. Soderman, a World War II recipient of the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Belgium in 1944. The sealift new construction ships are large, medium-speed, roll-on, roll-off ships (LMSRs). The ships are assigned to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, and are prepositioned to quickly deliver U.S. Army tanks, armored personnel carriers, tractor-trailers, and other equipment and supplies to potential areas of conflict around the world. The ships also can provide surge sealift support of remote military actions. Their multi-use capabilities make these cargo ships among the most flexible ever built. The USNS Soderman is 950 feet in length, has a beam of 105 feet and displaces approximately 62,000 long tons when fully loaded. The ship has over 390,000 square feet of cargo carrying space. The gas turbine-powered ship will be able to sustain speeds up to 24 knots when fully loaded. The strategic sealift ships are the largest ships that can fit through the Panama Canal.

"As we bid farewell to the last ship in a decade-long program that has dramatically improved our nation's readiness capabilities, NASSCO is moving on to a series of commercial contracts and an exciting new program for the Navy," Vortmann said. NASSCO is building two RoRos for Totem Ocean Trailer Express and has begun construction of the first of four double-hull tankers for BP. Vortmann added that NASSCO has also been awarded contracts to build the first three T-AKEs, a new, innovative class of dry cargo ammunition ships that will meet the Navy's logistics needs for the next 40 years. The original T-AKE contract award included options exercisable by the Navy for a total of up to 12 T-AKEs over six years.

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