USNS MENDONCA (T-AKR 303), the fourth of seven BOB HOPE Class Strategic Sealift ships being built by Litton Avondale Industries was delivered to the U.S. Navy on January 30, 2001, ahead of schedule. MENDONCA and her sister ships of the class are designed to support the nation's ability to deploy military equipment and supplies quickly to U.S. troops around the world and provide pre-positioning and surge sealift capacity to contingency areas worldwide.
The 950-ft.-long, large, medium-speed, RoRo (LMSR) ships of the BOB HOPE Class are among the largest in the Navy fleet. "A remarkable team has developed among the New Orleans Supervisor of Shipbuilding, the Naval Sea Systems Command and the men and women of Avondale since the first ship of this class was delivered," said Litton Avondale President Tom Kitchen. "A tremendous amount of knowledge and an extensive amount of experience is in this fourth ship of the BOB HOPE Class, and we are proud to deliver this great Avondale-built ship to the U.S. Navy."
Capt. David Vogel, U.S. Navy, Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, New Orleans, commented on the recent delivery: "I've been the Supervisor of Shipbuilding for nearly three years now, and USNS MENDONCA is the finest Sealift ship I've seen in the Avondale program so far, the Best of its Class. I'm very proud of the achievements of the Naval Sea Systems Command and Litton Avondale with this ship."
The ship is designed and constructed with more than 380,000 sq. ft. of cargo capacity and is capable of carrying up to 1,000 military wheeled or tracked vehicles and other cargo, such as huge containers, trailers, equipment, supplies and break-bulk cargo in its seven cavernous decks. It has a beam of nearly 106 ft., a draft of 34.6 ft. and displaces 62,069 long tons.
With 65,160-shp, the ship can cruise at speeds in excess of 24 knots, with an endurance standard of more than 13,000 nautical miles. The Sealift ships have
accommodations for 95 people, but they typically sail with a crew of approximately 27. When MENDONCA departs Avondale, it is expected to be homeported on the East Coast.