General Dynamics NASSCO’s fleet replenishment oiler program for the U.S. Navy passed a milestone in mid-July with the christening of the first ship in the class, the USNS John Lewis.
Saturday, July 17, was the anniversary of the day in 2020 when the ship’s namesake, civil rights activist and congressman John Lewis, passed away. The ceremony was held at pier side. NASSCO launched the ship in January.
The John Lewis and the ships that come after it will replenish fuel and other supplies on U.S. Navy fighting ships deployed in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and other locations around the world. The oilers are 742 feet long with a double hull and a full load displacement of 49,850 tons. They can travel at speeds up to 20 knots, or 23 mph.
NASSCO plans to deliver the John Lewis on Feb. 1.
The first six ships are being built under a contract awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command to NASSCO in June 2016. The deal covering design and construction could be worth in excess of $3.1 billion.
Early in the year, parent company General Dynamics reported that NASSCO had a $1.9 billion backlog for construction of John Lewis-class oilers, with a final scheduled delivery date of 2025.
Three other ships are currently under construction. They are the future USNS Harvey Milk, the future USNS Earl Warren and the future USNS Robert F. Kennedy. More work on the program is likely.
The job of breaking the champagne bottle on the John Lewis’ hull went to the ship’s sponsor, Alfre Woodard Spencer. Dignitaries from the Navy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were also on hand for the ceremony.
NASSCO conducts ship repair and other shipbuilding projects in Barrio Logan. As of Dec. 31, it had an $800 million backlog for Expeditionary Sea Base auxiliary support ships with a final scheduled delivery date of 2024. The Expeditionary Sea Base is a 784-foot ship with a 52,000 square foot flight deck. The ships will be able to support multiple missions including air mine countermeasures, counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions, and U.S. Marine Corps crisis response.
Separate General Dynamics shipyards produce Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines and Virginia-class submarines.
CEO: Phebe Novakovic
HEADQUARTERS: Reston, Virginia
BUSINESS: Aerospace and defense contractor
REVENUE: $37.9 billion in 2020; $39.4 billion in 2019
EMPLOYEES: 3,535 at NASSCO
NOTABLE: NASSCO stands for National Steel and Shipbuilding
CONTACT: (619) 544-3400