The US Navy’s 14th and final Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo-ammunition ship, USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE 14), has successfully completed its integrated acceptance trials.
Navy Program Executive Office (PEO) Auxiliary Ships, Small Boats and Craft programme manager Frank McCarthey said: "This ship trial again demonstrates the maturity of this class, the many lessons learned incorporated, and significant production efficiencies NASSCO has achieved across the class."
Completion of the four-day single integrated trials marks a milestone prior to being delivered to the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) later in 2012.
General Dynamics (GD) NASSCO was awarded a contract by the US Navy to construct 14 T-AKE ships for a total value of $3.7bn.
Of the 14 ships, the US Navy will operate 11 as CLF ships, while the remaining three will be part of the maritime prepositioning force.
Capable of cruising at a maximum speed of 20k with a beam of 106ft, the 689ft-long cargo-ammunition ships can be deployed to operate independently at extended periods at sea.
In addition to transporting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies, the T-AKE vessels will be used to ferry cargo, ammunition and other equipment equal to a capacity of more than 10,000t.
Powered by a single-shaft, diesel-electric propulsion system, 42,000t T-AKE frigates are classified as combat logistics force (CLF) ships to replace ageing Kilauea-class ammunition ships and Mars- and Sirius-class combat stores ships for the navy.
The US Navy took delivery of USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13) from GD NASSCO earlier in 2012.
Image: USNS Cesar Chavez during its christening ceremony. Photo: courtesy of General Dynamics.