The ninth fleet replenishment oiler ship to be built in Barrio Logan at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard will be named after abolitionist and social activist Harriet Tubman. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro made the announcement earlier this month (Sept. 17) at a Maryland national park that honors Tubman.
NASSCO, which has more than 3,300 employees, will build the ship under a $736 million contract modification that was announced in May. Work on the ship is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2025.
Total Contract Grows
The latest contract modification brought the value of the nine-ship contract to approximately $5.5 billion.
NASSCO is a subsidiary of Reston, Virginia-based General Dynamics (NYSE: GD). NASSCO contracts also benefit subcontractors in San Diego’s shipbuilding and repair ecosystem, which is centered in Barrio Logan.
The 742-foot oiler ships – all named for figures in civil rights struggles – are designed to transfer fuel to U.S. Navy carrier strike group ships operating at sea. Specifically they carry jet fuel, diesel fuel and lubricating oil.
They have the capacity to carry 157,000 barrels of oil, a significant capacity for dry and frozen cargo, and a speed of 20 knots. The ships displace 22,173 metric tons without a load. They are accessible by helicopter.
The lead ship of the class is named after Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. NASSCO delivered the ship to the Navy in summer 2022.
Tubman, the namesake of the latest ship, was a onetime slave who escaped to freedom. She worked to bring more than 70 men, women and children out of slavery in the South as part of the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War she served as a Union spy, scout, nurse and cook. She later participated in the women’s rights movement. She died in 1913.
$2 Billion Backlog for Oilers
Parent company General Dynamics reported record revenue of $39.4 billion in 2022, up 2.4% from $38.5 billion in 2021.
The business had a $2 billion backlog for oiler work, and deliveries planned through 2027, according to a securities filing dated Feb. 7 – prior to the announcement of the contract modification for the future USNS Harriet Tubman.
NASSCO also has an $800,000 million backlog for another Navy project to construct Expeditionary Sea Base ships in Barrio Logan. The ships can carry U.S. Marines as well as special operations forces. Planned deliveries extend to 2026.
General Dynamics reported on July 26 that good order activity across all of its segments yielded a consolidated book-to-bill ratio, defined as orders divided by revenue, of 1.2-to-1 for the second quarter.
NASSCO also repairs U.S. Navy ships, though the work does not bring in as much revenue as new construction.
General Dynamics Corp.
CEO: Phebe Novakovic; Dave Carver is president of subsidiary NASSCO
HEADQUARTERS: Reston, Virginia
BUSINESS: Aerospace and defense contractor
REVENUE: $39.4 billion in 2022; $38.5 billion in 2021
EMPLOYEES: More than 3,300 at NASSCO
NOTABLE: NASSCO stands for National Steel and Shipbuilding