The US Navy’s newest Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) vessel, the future USNS Miguel Keith (ESB 5), has moved closer to joining the naval fleet.

The navy recently completed acceptance trials of the ESB vessel off the coast of southern California.

USNS Miguel Keith arrived from the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co shipyard (NASSCO) in San Diego to undergo the week-long trials.

During the trials, the navy tested the performance of all major systems of the vessel.

US Navy Program Executive Office Ships Strategic Sealift and Theater Sealift programme manager captain Scot Searles said: “Our ESBs are bringing tremendous operational capability to our combatant commanders.

“These ships are supporting a wide variety of mission sets in the 5th and 6th Fleet and more recently have demonstrated their ability to integrate mine countermeasure mission packages. These sea trials demonstrated the high quality of this ship and its readiness to join the fight.”

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By GlobalData

Miguel Keith, the third platform of the ESB variant, suffered damage during construction last year at NASSCO after a flooding incident with the graving dock.

The 785-ft vessel completed its first sea trials in June and is expected to be delivered in 2020.

The USS Lewis B Puller (ESB 3) is the first ESB-variant.

NASSCO was awarded the construction contract for ESB 5 in December 2016. The firm is also responsible for detail design and construction of ESB 6 and 7. The contract includes an option for the construction of ESB 8.

The ESB platforms are intended for use in support of special operations force and airborne mine countermeasures. The vessels can also be used for humanitarian support.

With a range of 9,500nm, the ESBs can accommodate a crew of 34 Military Sealift Command personnel.