General Dynamics (GD) Nassco has received $640m to design and build six next-generation John Lewis-class (TAO-205) fleet replenishment oilers for the US Navy.
The fixed price incentive firm target (FPIF) block buy contract amount includes line items for five follow-on ships between FY2018 and FY2022, and options for associated support efforts.
GD Nassco and Bath Iron Works president Fred Harris said: "We are pleased to be building the next-generation of oilers and participating in the future design efforts of the LX(R), two very important ship programmes for the fleet.
"With this award, we will now proceed with engineering and design work."
Under the TAO-205 programme, the first ship was funded in the FY2016 budget to allow immediate commencement of engineering and design work.
The US Navy has also requested advance procurement for a second ship in its FY2017 budget, which is expected to occur in FY2018.
With a capacity to carry 156,000 barrels of oil, the new vessels will be designed to transfer fuel to US Navy surface ships operating at sea.
The oilers will also provide dry cargo capacity, aviation capability while operating at a speed of 20k.
Nassco has also been awarded LX(R) contract design engineering man-hours as part of the US Navy's acquisition strategy for the TAO-205 programme.
In January this year, US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced that the first fleet oiler will be named in honour of John Lewis, a civil rights movement legend and current US representative of Georgia's fifth congressional district.
The company has recently concluded a 14-ship T-AKE programme for the US Navy, akin to the TAO-205 programme.
Image: Rendering of TAO-205 Fleet Oiler. Photo: courtesy of General Dynamics.