Following three days underway, the future USNS Charles Drew (T-AKE 10) completed acceptance trials, June 19, departing from and returning to the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego. Charles Drew is the 10th 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.
"The success of these trials is a credit to the Navy-NASSCO team’s continued focus on affordability and quality,” said Frank McCarthey, the Auxiliary Ships, Small Boats and Craft program manager for the Navy's Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "We’re still seeing continuous improvement in the construction of these ships even after nine ships have been delivered.”
NASSCO is under contract for the construction of the entire T-AKE class, a total of 14 ships. The most recent, USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9), was delivered Feb. 24. 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, USNS Charles Drew 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.