Following two days underway, the future USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9) completed Acceptance Trials Jan. 29, departing from, and returning to, the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) shipyard in San Diego.
Matthew Perry is the ninth Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo/ammunition ship to be presented to the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). Completion of Acceptance Trials is the final major milestone prior to delivery to the Navy. During Acceptance Trials, the ship successfully demonstrated a variety of systems, including main propulsion, engineering, ship control systems, and crew support.
NASSCO is under contract for the construction of the entire T-AKE class, a total of 14 ships. Twelve of the 14 T-AKEs are currently under contract with long lead time materials for ships 13 and 14 on order. To date, eight ships of the T-AKE class have delivered, the most recent, USNS Wally Schirra (T-AKE 8), on Sept. 1, 2009. PEO Ships is taking advantage of this successful program by applying lessons learned from this class to other programs.
As a Combat Logistics Force ship, Matthew Perry will help the Navy maintain a worldwide forward presence by delivering ammunition, food, fuel, and other dry cargo to U.S. and allied ships at sea. The ship is designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea, and can carry and support two helicopters to conduct vertical replenishment. The class is providing effective Fleet underway replenishment capability at a low life cycle cost compared to the auxiliary ships they are replacing.
PEO Ships is responsible for the acquisition and delivery of all non-nuclear U.S. Navy surface ships. Prior to delivery, each Navy ship is evaluated by INSURV during acceptance trials to identify deficiencies and correct any outstanding issues. These trials are a significant step in a ship's steady progress toward entering the Fleet, and are the first opportunity for the Navy to ensure that each system operates as designed while the ship is underway.