National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) has begun
construction on the first ship in the T-AKE program, a new class of
combat logistics force ships designated the Lewis and Clark class.
"The T-AKE is the first new combat logistics force ship designed for the
Navy in almost 20 years," said Richard Vortmann, president of NASSCO.
"It is the first to combine lower-cost commercial ship design features
with high-performance, proven international marine technologies such as
integrated electric-drive propulsion."
The T-AKE is a dry cargo/ammunition ship that will be operated by the
Military Sealift Command. An underway replenishment ship, the T-AKE will
support the Navy's Sea Power 21 vision of seabasing, providing logistic
lift from sources of supply either in port or at sea and transferring
cargo - ammunition, food, fuel, repair parts, and expendable supplies
and material - to station ships and other naval forces at sea. With
convertible cargo holds and cargo transfer systems capable of handling
food and stores or ammunition, the T-AKE will replace two classes of
aging cargo ships that are nearing the end of their service lives: T-AE
ammunition ships and T-AFS combat stores ships.
To date, NASSCO has been awarded contracts with
a total value of $1.3
billion to build four Lewis and Clark-class ships. NASSCO's T-AKE
contract has options exercisable by the Navy for eight additional ships
over the next five years for a potential contract value of approximately
$3.7 billion. If all options are exercised, the program will give NASSCO
a firm backlog through 2010 and provide jobs for 1500-1800 production
employees during that period.
The T-AKEs will be 689 ft. (210 m) in length and 105.6 ft. (32.2 meters)
in beam, with a design draft of 9.12 meters (29.9 feet).
The ships will carry almost 7,000 metric tons of dry cargo and
ammunition and 23,500 barrels of marine diesel fuel
. The T-AKEs have
been designed to maximize cargo-handling efficiency and minimize the
costs of operation and maintenance over their expected 40-year life.
NASSCO is a leading builder of auxiliary and support ships for the Navy.