Launch of USNS John Lewis marks modernization of US Navy replenishment ships capabilities

According to information published on January 13, 2021, the future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205) Fleet Replenishment Oiler ship for the U.S. Navy, launched from General Dynamics-National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD-NASSCO) on January 12, 2021, marking a significant shipbuilding milestone.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), the U.S. Navy’s first-in-class Fleet Replenishment Oiler, launched from General Dynamics-National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD-NASSCO) on Jan. 12, marking a significant shipbuilding milestone. (Photo by Courtesy of General Dynamics/RELEASED)

“Recapitalizing our aging fleet replenishment capabilities is a key component of making our naval logistics more agile and resilient,” said Mr. Mike Kosar, Support Ships, Boats and Craft Program Manager, Program Executive Office, Ships. “John Lewis will be a steadfast and reliable ship and we have tremendous momentum behind the program right now. We’re looking forward to delivering this enhanced capability to the fleet.”

The John Lewis-class ships will be operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command and provide underway replenishment of fuel and stores to U.S. Navy ships at sea and jet fuel for aircraft assigned to aircraft carriers. These ships will add capacity to the Navy’s Combat Logistics Force and become the cornerstone of the fuel delivery system.

With John Lewis (T-AO 205) now in the water, production efforts will focus on final outfitting in support of Christening in the spring, and sea trials and delivery in late 2021. GD-NASSCO is also in production on the future USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206), which started construction in August, with delivery planned in 2022, and the future USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207), which started construction in December 2020, with delivery planned in 2023.

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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