General Dynamics NASSCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE:GD) , on March 17 laid the keel for USNS Charles Drew, the tenth dry cargo-ammunition ship in the U.S. Navy's T-AKE program. Construction of the Charles Drew began in October. The ship is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in the third quarter of 2010. The ship is named in honor of the African-American physician who was a pioneer in blood preservation and storage.
On March 19, NASSCO will begin construction of USNS Washington Chambers, the eleventh ship of the T-AKE class. The Washington Chambers is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in the first quarter of 2011. The ship bears the name of the Navy officer who oversaw the early development of U.S. naval aviation.
NASSCO has delivered seven T-AKE ships to the Navy and is under contract to build five additional T-AKE ships, including the Charles Drew and Washington Chambers. The Navy has also provided long-lead material funding to NASSCO for two more ships for a total class of 14 T-AKE vessels.
Located in San Diego, NASSCO employs more than 4,700 people. In addition to the T-AKE program, the shipyard is also building a series of product carriers for U.S. Shipping Partners L.P.