General Dynamics (GD) NASSCO has begun construction on a new ship for the US Navy's Expeditionary Transfer Dock (ESD) / Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) programme.
ESB 5 is the fifth ship to be added under the contract, which has already seen GD NASSCO built two ESDs for the US Navy, USNS Montford Point (T-ESD 1) and USNS John Glenn (T-ESD 2).
The third in the planned series, USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB 3), was delivered to the US Navy in October 2015, while the fourth, USNS Hershel 'Woody' Williams, is currently under construction and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018.
The new ESB has been specifically designed to offer modernised and upgraded flexibility and capability for sea-to-shore missions, and can accommodate up to 250 personnel.
The 784ft-long vessel will feature a 52,000ft² flight deck, magazines, mission planning spaces, fuel and equipment storage, and repair spaces.
Serving as a 'pier at sea', the ESB 5 ship has also been designed to support US Navy’s MH-53 long-range combat search-and-rescue helicopter, MH-60 twin-turboshaft engine multi-mission helicopter, and MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft.
The first two ESBs were designed to enable vehicle staging and transfers, in addition to facilitating the movement of landing craft air-cushion (LCAC) vessels. They were formerly classified as mobile landing platforms (MLPs).