General Dynamics NASSCOannounced the start of construction on the sixth dry cargo-ammunition ship in the U.S. Navy's T-AKE program. The ship is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in the fourth quarter of 2008.
The lead ship of the class, USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1), was delivered to the Navy last
June. The second ship, USNS Sacagawea, will go to sea for Builder's Trials on December 14 and will be delivered to the Navy in the first quarter of 2007. The third ship, USNS Alan Shepard
, was launched on December 6, and is scheduled to be delivered in the second quarter of 2007. The fourth and fifth T-AKE ships, currently under construction, are the Richard E. Byrd and Robert E. Peary, respectively.
The T-AKE ships are 210 meters (689 feet) in length and 32.2 meters (105.6 feet) in beam, with a design draft of 9.12 meters (29.9 feet) and a displacement of 41,000 metric tons. NASSCO has incorporated international marine technologies and commercial ship-design features into the ships, including an integrated electric-drive propulsion system, to minimize operating costs over their projected 40-year service life.