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NASSCO Launches First Navy Oiler

General Dynamics NASSCO on Jan. 12 launched the future USNS John Lewis, the first of six vessels in the John Lewis-class fleet oiler program designed to support the U.S. Navy.

Construction of the future USNS John Lewis began in the fall of 2018. More than 18,575 tons of steel went into the project. The 742-foot long vessel is designed to transfer fuel to U.S. Navy carrier strike group ships operating at sea. The oilers will feature the capacity to carry 157,000 barrels of oil (6.6 million gallons) as well as a significant amount of dry cargo. They will be able to travel at speeds up to 20 knots.

“NASSCO is immensely honored to be a part of this historic day launching the future John Lewis,” said Dave Carver, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. “This ship reaffirms our Nation’s stability and represents the same strength, values and honor that her namesake, the Honorable John Lewis, stood for. The shipbuilders of NASSCO are proud to ensure his legacy will live on in this majestic vessel.”

Adding to the momentum of the fleet’s success, NASSCO started construction on the future USNS Earl Warren, the third vessel in the program, late last year.

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In 2016, General Dynamics NASSCO was awarded the contract by the U.S. Navy for the detailed design and construction of the next generation of fleet oilers, the John Lewis-class, previously known as the TAO(X). This contract is for the construction of six ships. NASSCO is in discussions with the Navy about building the seventh and eighth ships. The Navy’s current plan is to buy 20 oilers.

The christening of the future USNS John Lewis will be celebrated later in 2021 with the ship’s sponsor following tradition of breaking a champagne bottle on the ship’s hull.

General Dynamics trades on the New York Stock Exchange as GD.

Kratos Gets Order for 20 Drones

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. (Nasdaq: KTOS) announced on Jan. 13 that it received an additional order from a long-term international customer for 20 high-performance jet drones. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and the customer was not identified. The contract includes support equipment to satisfy the customer’s continuing current and future missions and operations.

“Over the last three years, in anticipation of future drone orders, Kratos ramped up production line rates on several of our drone systems so that we would have a constant rate of aircraft coming off the production line to meet not only contracted but also future demand,” said Steve Fendley, president of Kratos’ Unmanned Systems Division. “In most cases, our orders are now exceeding our initial production rates as a result of our increase in orders. This is great news for our company and our personnel as we have established such a substantial backlog of production orders and are now increasing our production rates even further. We appreciate our customers’ confidence in our systems and our ability to deliver within the often-tight schedules. Importantly, these international orders help our production economies-of-scale enabling us to retain our low-cost benchmarks for all our customers including international and across the U.S. government.”

Kratos is based in Scripps Ranch. It builds its unmanned systems in the Sacramento area and at its new factory in Oklahoma.

Kratos’ Jet Unit Receives $12.7M Order

Kratos’ Turbine Technologies Division (KTT) announced on Jan. 12 that it received a $12.7 million task order from the U.S. Air Force under its Advanced Turbine Technologies for Affordable Mission contract. The program will be managed by the Turbine Engine Division of the Air Force Research Laboratory. The award follows the successful ground testing of an affordable turbojet designed for use in future low-cost cruise missiles and attritable Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Such “attritable” aircraft can be lost without too much cost to the Defense Department.

The design and test of the 200-pound thrust-class turbojet engine was completed in less than 18 months. Testing included characterization of the engine from ignition to overspeed conditions, characterization of engine performance including thrust, fuel efficiency and electrical power output, and engine durability. Testing was performed at the recently commissioned Kratos engine-test facility in Indiantown, Florida.

The objective of the awarded task order is to complete the engine development for flight testing and to demonstrate the targeted life low-cost engine architecture. Work will be performed by KTT in Florida.


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