Military Sealift Command accepted delivery of dry/cargo ammunition ship USNS Richard E. Byrd
in San Diego. The ship was built by General Dynamics (GD)
Byrd, designated T-AKE 4, is the fourth in the Lewis and Clark-class of underway replenishment ships, which deliver ammunition, provisions, stores, spare parts, potable water and petroleum products to the Navy’s underway carrier and expeditionary strike groups, allowing them to stay at sea for extended periods of time.
The T-AKEs will replace some of these aging, single-mission ships such as Kilauea-class ammunition ships and Mars- and Sirius-class combat stores ships that are nearing the end of their service lives.
Later this month, the 689-foot Byrd will go on a short ‘shakedown cruise’ where the ship’s crew will test a range of shipboard operations including a mock ammunition transfer that will use shipboard cranes to lift dummy ordnance onto Byrd’s deck from barges. This is the first such test ever done aboard a T-AKE.