National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) delivered USNS Watkins (T-AKR 315) to the U.S. Navy. The Watkins was delivered ahead of schedule, under target cost, and with zero discrepancies. The Watkins is the sixth new construction ship completed by NASSCO under the U.S. Navy’s Strategic Sealift Program. A total of eight new construction ships and three ship conversions have been awarded to NASSCO under the 20-ship Strategic Sealift Program. All of the ships are being named for U.S. Army Medal of Honor recipients. This ship is named in honor of Army Master Sgt. Travis E. Watkins, (1920-1950), who was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroic actions in the Korean War.
The sealift new construction ships are large, medium-speed, RoRo 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 provide surge sealift support of remote military actions. Their multi-use capabilities make these cargo ships among the most flexible ever built.
The USNS Watkins is 950 ft. long, has a beam of 105 ft. 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.