The lead ship in the U.S. Navy’s new class of fleet replenishment oilers, USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), took to sea this month for initial builders trials before the ship’s acceptance trials and delivery.

The USNS John Lewis is the first ship in the new John Lewis-class T-AOs, which will be operated by Military Sealift Command and provide diesel fuel, lubricating oil, and jet fuel to U.S. Navy carrier strike group ships operating at sea. The oilers have the capacity to carry 157,000 barrels of oil, significant dry cargo capacity, aviation capability and are capable of speeds up to 20 knots.

Builder’s Trials consist of a series of in-port and at-sea demonstrations that allow the Navy and the shipbuilder, General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), to assess the ship’s systems and readiness.

Photo: The future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205) after its launch at General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego, California, January 12, 2021. Photo: NASSCO

“Ensuring readiness through sea trials is a crucial step to bringing this ship closer to fleet tasking,” said John Lighthammer, program manager, Auxiliary and Special Mission Shipbuilding Program Office. “USNS John Lewis will provide much needed capability to the fleet as the primary fuel pipeline at sea. We are looking forward to getting the ship into the hands of Sailors and merchant mariners as another tool to support at-sea operations.”

The Navy awarded General Dynamics NASSCO with a contract in 2016 for the detailed design and construction of the next generation of fleet oilers, previously known as the TAO(X). The contract calls for the design and construction of six 742-foot-long oilers with a full load displacement of 49,850 tons.

NASSCO is currently also in production on USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206), USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207), and USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208). The future USNS Lucy Stone (T-AO 209) and USNS Sojourner Truth (T-AO 210) are also under contract.

Source: gCaptain