The US Navy’s first ship in the John Lewis-class fleet oiler programme, the future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), has completed initial builder’s trials.

As part of the trials, the vessel was put through several in-port and at-sea demonstrations to evaluate the vessel’s systems and readiness.

John Lewis returned to the port following the completion of the trials.

Auxiliary and Special Mission Shipbuilding Program Office programme manager John Lighthammer said: “Ensuring readiness through sea trials is a crucial step to bringing this ship closer to fleet tasking.

“USNS John Lewis will provide much-needed capability to the fleet as the primary fuel pipeline at sea. We are looking forward to getting the ship into the hands of sailors and merchant mariners as another tool to support at-sea operations.”

Constructed by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), the future USNS John Lewis will now prepare to undergo acceptance trials and delivery to the Navy.

John Lewis was launched in January 2021 and christened last July.

Military Sealift Command, as part of the navy’s Combat Logistics Force, will operate the new John Lewis-class T-AOs.

The vessels will take up tasks such as the delivery of diesel fuel, lubricating oil, and small quantities of fresh and frozen provisions, stores, and potable water to naval vessels at sea.

They will also provide jet fuel for aircraft operating from aircraft carriers.

Currently, the future USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206), USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207), and USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208) are under different stages of construction.

NASSCO is also under contract to build the future USNS Lucy Stone (T-AO 209) and USNS Sojourner Truth (T-AO 210).