US Navy Takes Delivery of Lead Ship of New Fleet Tanker Class

The United States Navy has taken delivery of USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), the first ship in a new class of fleet replenishment tankers.

The new John Lewis-class T-AOs will be operated by Military Sealift Command to supply diesel fuel and lubricating oil, as well as small amounts of fresh and frozen provisions, supplies and potable water to ships. Navy at sea, and jet fuel for aircraft. Measuring 742 feet long with a full load displacement of 49,850 tons, the class has a capacity to carry 157,000 barrels of oil and a top speed of 20 knots.

The new T-AOs will add capability to the Navy’s Combat Logistics Force and become the cornerstone of the fuel delivery system.

The ship was built by General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego, which began construction in 2018. The T-AOs will be named after civil rights leaders.

Delivery of USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205) follows completion of acceptance trials with the Navy Board of Inspection and Survey to test the ship’s readiness and capability and validate the requirements.

NASSCO is also currently building three additional ships in the class, including USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206), USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207), and USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208). Future USNS Lucy Stone (T-AO 209) and USNS Sojourner Truth (T-AO 210) are under contract. A total of 20 ships are planned for the class.

“USNS John Lewis will provide the fleet with much-needed capabilities as a primary offshore fuel pipeline,” said John Lighthammer, program manager, Auxiliary Naval Construction and Special Mission Program Office. “This is the first of a class of 20 ships providing sailors and merchant seamen another tool to support operations at sea.”

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