Construction of US Navy John Lewis-class Harvey Milk replenishment oiler began on 13 December 2019

Construction began Friday, December 13, 2019, of the second John Lewis class replenishment oiler named Harvey Milk for U.S. Navy. The US Navy plans to procure a total of 20 John Lewis-class (T-AO 205) oilers fleet under the John Lewis or TAO-205 program, which is named after American civil rights leader, John Robert Lewis.

Construction of US Navy John Lewis class Harvey Milk replenishment oiler began on 13 December 2019 925 001 Artist's rendering of the future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), courtesy General Dynamics - National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (Picture source General Dynamics - National Steel and Shipbuilding Co.)

Construction of John Lewis began with the first steel cut for the lead ship in the class in September 2018, while completion is scheduled for November 2020. The second ship is expected to be delivered in April 2021.

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 at sea. The double-hull design concept of the ship will provide a high level of protection against damage to the inner hull. These ships are part of the Navy's Combat Logistics Force.

U.S. Navy fleet oilers like the future Harvey Milk are used to replenish fuel oil and dry goods to Navy ships at sea. The Harvey Milk will be the second ship in the new John Lewis class of fleet oilers.

The new replenishment tankers will have the capacity to carry 156,000 barrels of oil, including biofuels, and will be fitted with a helideck with the capacity to conduct refueling for helicopters. The new ship can hold more dry cargo than its predecessor.

The John Lewis class ship can be armed with a close-in weapon system (CIWS) or SeaRAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) anti-ship missile defense system for detecting and destroying anti-ship cruise missiles. It can be also armed with a Nixie torpedo countermeasure system to counter torpedo attacks. An advanced degaussing system (ADS) will be installed to protect the ship from modern magnetically fused sea mines. The John Lewis-class can also carry crew-served weaponry to offer protection against fast-attack craft.