Marking the completion of a decade-long, multibillion-dollar program, General Dynamics NASSCO delivered USNS Cesar Chavez to the U.S. Navy in San Diego on Wednesday (Oct. 24).
The ship is the 14th and final vessel in the T-AKE class of dry cargo-ammunition ships that NASSCO built for the Navy to replace the Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) aging, single-mission supply ships.
‘Highly Successful’ Shipbuilding
The primary goal of the T-AKE program was to provide effective fleet underway replenishment capability at the lowest life cycle cost by designing and constructing the ships to commercial specifications and standards.
|USNS Cesar Chavez is the 14th and final ship to be built for the Navy’s T-AKE program.|
With a 79.2 percent ship-over-ship learning curve, NASSCO described the program as “highly successful” and “among the most efficient shipbuilding programs in the United States.”
By incorporating international marine technologies, the ships are capable of fulfilling a variety of U.S. Navy global combat logistics requirements with minimized operating costs over the projected 40-year service life.
The New Fleet
The 14 ships, slated for use by MSC’s Combat Logistics Force, will deliver ammunition, food, fuel, and other supplies to the U.S. and allied ships at sea.
|The new fleet of ships has a projected 40-year service life.|
The first 11 dry cargo/ammunition ships are currently operating, delivering fuel and supplies to Navy warships at sea. The remaining three ships, including USNS Cesar Chavez, are expected to be assigned to maritime prepositioning squadrons, which strategically place combat cargo at sea, the Navy said.
NASSCO started construction on the 689-foot-long USNS Cesar Chavez in October 2010. The ship has a cargo capacity of more than 10,000 tons.