Construction has begun on the USNS William McLean at the General Dynamics shipyard in San Diego, California.

Built by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), the USNS William McLean is one of 14 dry cargo / ammunition ships (T-AKE) for the US Navy.

The T-AKE ship incorporates international marine technologies and commercial ship-design features, including an integrated electric-drive propulsion system to minimise operating costs over its projected 40-year service life.

The Lewis and Clark Class T-AKE ships can deliver 10,000t of food, ammunition, fuel and other provisions to combat ships at sea.

USNS William McLean will be used by the navy for its Military Sealift Command, primarily to stage US Marine Corps equipment abroad.

The dry cargo vessel is scheduled to be delivered in March 2011.