General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) started construction on the future USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB-7) on December 1, 2021, the fifth ship of the U.S. Navy’s reclassified Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) program.
Dennis DuBard, a long-time NASSCO employee and the Start of Construction honoree, initiated the first cut of steel that will be used to construct the vessel.
«Today, we start construction of the ship that honors the life and service of the ship’s namesake, Marine Corps Private First Class Robert E. Simanek», said Dave Carver, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. «This ship represents the thousands of men and women who will spend roughly 2 million hours building this ship».
ESB ships are highly flexible platforms designed to support multiple maritime-based missions, including Air Mine Counter Measures (AMCM), Special Operations Forces (SOF), and limited crisis response. Acting as a mobile sea base, this 784-foot ship will be configured with a 52,000 square-foot/4,830 square-meter flight deck to support MH-53, MH-60, MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor, and H1 aircraft operations.
The future USS John L. Canley (ESB-6), the fourth ship in the ESB program, is scheduled to be launched in the summer of 2022. The first three ships in the ESB program for the U.S. Navy – USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3), USS Hershel «Woody» Williams (ESB-4), and USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5) – have been delivered.