SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The Navy christen
ed the lead ship of the latest class
of underway replenishment ships, USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1), May 21,
during an 8:00 p.m. launching at National Steel and Shipbuilding Company
(NASSCO), San Diego.
The name Lewis and Clark will honor the two legendary explorers who led a
visionary project that was to become one of American history's greatest
Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Jerry Lewis of
California, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Descendants
from the families of Capt. Meriwether Lewis and then-Lt. William Clark, Jane
Lewis Sale Henley and Lisa Clark, will serve as sponsors of the ship. The
launching ceremony will be highlighted in the time-honored Navy tradition
when the sponsors christen the ship by breaking bottles of champagne across
the bow to formally name the ship "Lewis and Clark."
Lewis and Clark is the lead ship in the Navy's new 12-ship T-AKE Class and
will serve as the functional replacement of the T-AE 26 class (ammunition
ship), T-AFS 1/8 class (combat stores ship), which are at the end of their
service lives. To conduct vertical replenishment, the ship will support two
military cargo logistics helicopters or two equivalent commercial
helicopters and associated aviation personnel.
Designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea while
providing replenishment services to U.S. and NATO ships, the Lewis and Clark
will directly contribute to the ability of the Navy to maintain a world-wide
forward presence. These ships will provide logistic lift from sources of
supply either in port or at sea from specially equipped merchant ships. They
will transfer this cargo (ammunition; food; limited quantities of fuel;
repair parts; ship store items and expendable supplies and material) to
station ships and other naval warfare forces at sea.
The U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command in Washington will operate Lewis and
Clark as part of it's Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force. The ship is 689 feet in
length, has an overall beam of 105 feet, a navigational draft of 30 feet,
and displaces approximately 41,000 tons. Powered by a single-shaft
diesel-electric propulsion system, the ship can reach a speed of 20 knots.