USNS Medgar Evers

The US Navy has received the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo-ammunition ship, USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13), from General Dynamics (GD) National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) Ship Yard, San Diego, US.

NASSCO had received an additional contract for the construction T-AKE 13 and USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE 14) in 2010, as part of the navy’s T-AKE acquisition programme for 14 ships with a total value of $3.7bn.

General Dynamics NASSCO president Fred Harris said that the Medgar Evers had completed successful sea trials three weeks ago and was ready to serve along with the other 12 T-AKE ships currently in service with the Navy performing various roles.

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Military Sealift Command (MSC) Pacific deputy commander Tim McCully said that the ship is capable of supporting an aircraft carrier’s aircraft and crew members while also transporting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies.

Named in honour of US Army veteran and civil rights activist Medgar Evers, T-AKE 13 will be used by the navy’s MSC primarily to transport US Marine Corps equipment overseas.

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.

T-AKE frigates have a cargo capacity of more than 10,000t, can cruise at a maximum speed of 20k and are designed to deliver food, ammunition, fuel and other provisions from shore stations to combat ships at sea.

Classified as Combat Logistics Force (CLF) ships, T-AKEs will replace the fleet of MSC’s aging, single-mission supply ships including Kilauea-class ammunition ships and Mars- and Sirius-class combat stores ships.

The final and fourteenth ship of the class, USNS Cesar Chavez, is scheduled for launch on 5 May 2012 and will be delivered to the US Navy in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Of the 14 ships, 11 will serve as CLF ships and the remaining three will be part of the Maritime Prepositioning Force.

Image: The nearly complete USNS Medgar Evers at GD NASSCO shipyard. Photo: General Dynamics.