Tag Archives: Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB)

Keel Laid

The future USNS Miguel Keith (T-ESB-5) held a keel laying ceremony January 30, at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard, San Diego.

An artist rendering of the future Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship, T-ESB-5 named in honor of Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Miguel Keith (U.S. Navy photo illustration/Released)
An artist rendering of the future Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship, T-ESB-5 named in honor of Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Miguel Keith (U.S. Navy photo illustration/Released)

A keel laying is the formal recognition of the start of a ship’s construction. It is the joining together of a ship’s modular components and the authentication or etching of the ship sponsors initials into a ceremonial plate.

«A keel laying is the first major milestone in the construction of a new ship», said Captain Scot Searles, Strategic Sealift and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. «The keel is the symbolic backbone of the ship. Over the next several months ESB-5 will begin to take shape and I look forward to seeing its progress as we continue constructing this versatile ship».

ESBs are highly flexible, modular platforms that are optimized to support a variety of maritime based missions including Special Operations Force and Airborne Mine Counter Measures support operations in addition to humanitarian support and sustainment of traditional military missions. The ESBs include a four-spot flight deck and hangar and a versatile mission deck and are designed around four core capabilities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging support, and command and control assets. The ESBs will operate as the component commander requires providing the U.S. Navy fleet with a critical access infrastructure that supports the flexible deployment of forces and supplies.

The Montford Point class is comprised of five ships across two variants in support of the Maritime Prepositioning Force. USNS Montford Point (T-ESD-1) and USNS John Glenn (T-ESD-2) have been delivered and are currently in service. The first of the ESB variant, USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3), was delivered to the fleet in 2015 as a USNS ship. In August 2017, the ship was commissioned as an USS ship on station in Bahrain. The USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (ESB-4) was christened in October and is expected to deliver to Military Sealift Command at the end of February.

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships and boats and craft.

Integrated Trials

USNS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (T-ESB-4), successfully completed the first Integrated Trials for an Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship January 19, sailing from and returning to General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO) shipyard in San Diego.

USNS Hershel Williams Completes Integrated Trials
USNS Hershel Williams Completes Integrated Trials

Integrated Trials combine Builder’s and Acceptance Trials, allowing for the shipyard to demonstrate to the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey the operational capability and mission readiness of all the ship’s systems during a single underway period. During trials, the shipbuilder conducted comprehensive tests to demonstrate the performance of all of the ship’s major systems.

«During the trials we were able to conduct a number of tests including full power propulsion, steering and anchoring», said Captain Scot Searles, strategic and theater sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships. «ESBs are versatile platforms, and the ship handled extremely well demonstrating its readiness for delivery».

USNS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (T-ESB-4) is the second platform of the ESB variant. ESBs have a maximum speed of 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h and range of 9,500 nautical miles/10,932 miles/17,594 km. The ship can hold 100,000 gallons/378,541 liters of potable water and 350,000 gallons/1,324,894 liters of JP-5 jet fuel. Acting as an expeditionary sea base, ESB-4 is optimized to support a variety of maritime based missions including special operations force and airborne mine counter measures. The ESBs include a four-spot flight deck and hangar and are designed around four core capabilities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging support, and command and control assets.

The ship USNS Miguel Keith (T-ESB-5) is also under construction at NASSCO and plans to hold its ceremonial keel laying ceremony with a representative of the namesake’s family January 30.

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, Program Executive Office Ships (PEO Ships) is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and boats and craft.

Vietnam veteran

Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer announced the U.S. Navy’s newest Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship, T-ESB-5, will be named in honor of Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Miguel Keith during a ceremony in National Harbor, Maryland, November 4.

An artist rendering of the future Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship, T-ESB-5 named in honor of Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Miguel Keith (U.S. Navy photo illustration/Released)
An artist rendering of the future Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship, T-ESB-5 named in honor of Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Miguel Keith (U.S. Navy photo illustration/Released)

Keith was born in San Antonio, Texas and joined the Marine Corps on May 1, 1969.

In 1969, Keith served as a machine gunner with Combined Action Platoon 132, III Marine Amphibious Force in Quang Ngai Province, Republic of Vietnam. He was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal on April 1, 1970.

He was severely wounded on the morning of May 8, 1970 when his platoon came under a heavy-ground attack. Despite being injured in the attack and open to hostile fire, he continued to engage the enemy with heavy machine gun fire.

Keith’s efforts resulted in him killing three attackers and dispersing two remaining adversaries. Despite receiving further serious injuries caused by an enemy grenade, he continued to advance upon an estimated 25 enemy soldiers, killing four and dispersing the rest.

Keith was mortally wounded, but his performance in the face of overwhelming odds contributed, in no small measure, to the success of his platoon defeating a numerically superior enemy force.

Able to accommodate up to 250 personnel, the new ESB ship will support multiple missions, such as Air Mine CounterMeasures (AMCM), counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster-relief missions, and crisis response operations.

Also, the vessel will be capable of supporting Sikorsky MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters, with an option for future upgrades to support Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

The new 784-foot-long/239-meter-long vessel will feature a 52,000-square-foot/4,831-square-meter flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, and mission-planning spaces.

USNS Miguel Keith will be constructed by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) in San Diego. The ship is expected to be delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2019.

Fifth Sea Base

On Wednesday, January 25, General Dynamics NASSCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, began construction on a fifth ship for the U.S. Navy’s Expeditionary Transfer Dock (ESD)/Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) program.

The ceremony’s honoree, Jackie Ruiz, gives her sign of approval after inspecting the first cut of steel for the ESB-5 as her son watches in the background. Jackie is the wife of Bryan Ruiz, NASSCO’s Director of Planning, and is also a former NASSCO employee
The ceremony’s honoree, Jackie Ruiz, gives her sign of approval after inspecting the first cut of steel for the ESB-5 as her son watches in the background. Jackie is the wife of Bryan Ruiz, NASSCO’s Director of Planning, and is also a former NASSCO employee

Designed to provide advanced flexibility and capability for sea-to-shore missions, the newest ESB will include a 52,000 square-foot/4,831 m2 flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, mission planning spaces and accommodations for up to 250 personnel. Serving as a «pier at sea», the 784-foot-long/239-meter-long ship is also designed to support MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters and MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft.

The ship, ESB-5, is the fifth to be added to a contract between NASSCO and the U.S. Navy that originally called for two Expeditionary Transfer Docks: USNS Montford Point (T-ESD-1) and USNS John Glenn (T-ESD-2).

The first two ships, formerly classified as Mobile Landing Platforms (MLPs), were designed and constructed by NASSCO to support vehicle staging and transfers, and the movement of LCAC vessels. In 2012, a third ship, USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3), was added to the contract and reconfigured as an ESB, formerly known as a MLP Afloat Forward Staging Base, to support a wide range of military operations. All three ships have been delivered to the U.S. Navy, and in October 2015, NASSCO began construction on ESB-4, USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams.

NASSCO is the largest shipyard on the west coast of the United States conducting design, construction and repair of ships. In the past decade, NASSCO delivered more than 30 ocean-going ships to government and commercial customers, including the world’s first LNG-powered containerships and several other lead ships.