NASSCO launches future US Navy USNS John Lewis T-AO-205 replenishment oiler ship

NASSCO launches future US Navy USNS John Lewis T-AO-205 replenishment oiler ship

USNS John Lewis (T-AO-205) is a United States Navy replenishment oiler and the lead ship of her class. She is part of the Military Sealift Command fleet of support ships.

According to a Tweet published on December 12, 2021, American National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) has successfully launched the future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), the first vessel in the John Lewis-class fleet oiler program designed to support the US Navy.

The company NASSCO (National Steel and Shipbuilding Company), is an American shipbuilding company and a division of General Dynamics, with three shipyards located in San Diego, Norfolk, and Mayport. The San Diego shipyard specializes in constructing commercial cargo ships and auxiliary vessels for the US Navy and Military Sealift Command. The Virginia shipyard primarily performs ship repairs and conversions for the U.S. Navy.

The USNS John Lewis (T-AO-205) is a new generation of replenishment oiler ships designed and build for the U.S. Navy and the lead ship of its class. U.S. Secretary of the Navy Raymond E. Mabus, Jr. announced the assignment of the name John Lewis to T-AO-205 on 6 January 2016. NASSCO began the construction of John Lewis on 20 September 2018 and it is planned to deliver six John Lewis-class to the U.S. Navy and a final order of 20 ships is expected. The keel for the future USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206), the Navy’s second John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oiler was laid at NASSCO in September 2020.

The John Lewis-class ships are based on commercial design standards and will recapitalize the current T-AO 187 Class Fleet Replenishment Oilers to provide underway replenishment of fuel to U.S. Navy ships and jet fuel for aircraft assigned to aircraft carriers. These ships are part of the Navy’s Combat Logistics Force and will become the backbone of the fuel delivery system.

The T-AO-205 class design has capabilities similar to those of the Kaiser-class ships replenishment oiler in service with the U.S. Navy and will rely on existing technologies rather than new technologies. To guard against oil spills, T-AO-205s are to be double-hulled, like modern commercial oil tankers, with a space between the two hulls to protect the inner hull against events that puncture the outer hull.

The USNS John Lewis has a length of 227.4 m, a beam of 32.4 m, a draft of 10.2 maximum, and a displacement of 49,850 tons. The propulsion of the ship includes two medium-speed Fairbanks-Morse MAN 12V48/60CR diesel engines and two shafts. She can reach a top speed of 20 knots (37 km/h) with a cruising range of 6,147 nautical miles. She has a crew of 125 people. 

The USNS John Lewis has a flight deck, 5 refueling stations, and two dry cargo transfer rigs. For its self-protection, the ship can be armed with 12.7mm heavy machine guns, Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems or SeaRam surface-to-air defense missile system. 

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