Tag Archives: NASSCO

Expeditionary Sea Base

General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), a subsidiary of General Dynamics (GD), was awarded a contract by the U.S. Navy worth up to $1.6 billion for the construction of the sixth and seventh ships of the Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) program, as well as an option for ESB-8.

General Dynamics awarded $1.6 billion contract to build additional U.S. Navy Expeditionary Sea Base ships

«We are pleased to be building ESB-6 and ESB-7 for our Navy», said Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. «ESBs have proven to be affordable and flexible, and as the fleet has gained experience with the platform, we have worked with the Navy and Marines to develop even more capabilities and mission sets».

The contract, announced by the Department of Defense on August 23, 2019, provides $1.08 billion as a fixed-price-incentive modification to a previous contract for the design and construction of the two ships, with an option for the third that, if exercised, would bring the total cumulative value to $1.63 billion.

Named after famous names or places of historical significance to U.S. Marines, ESBs serve as a flexible platform and a key element in the U.S. Navy’s airborne mine countermeasures mission, with accommodations for up to 250 personnel and a large helicopter flight deck. The ship’s configuration supports special warfare and Marine Corps task-organized units.

Work on the two new ships of the ESB program is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2020 and continue to the second quarter of 2023, providing the opportunity to sustain and grow the workforce along San Diego’s working waterfront. NASSCO’s unique location along the historic San Diego Bay provides shipbuilders and skilled tradespeople with unparalleled access to the nation’s leading maritime support businesses, and highly-trained employees allow NASSCO to build and repair some of the world’s greatest ships in the most efficient manner possible.

In 2011, the U.S. Navy awarded NASSCO with a contract to design and build the first two ships in the newly created Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) program, the USNS Montford Point (T-ESD-1) and USNS John Glenn (T-ESD-2). The program expanded with three more vessels, the USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3), USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (T-ESB-4) and the USNS Miguel Keith (T-ESB-5), configured as ESBs. Following the delivery of the first four ships to the U.S. Navy, the fifth ship, the USNS Miguel Keith (T-ESB-5), is scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Keel Authenticated

The keel for the future USNS John Lewis (T-AO-205), the Navy’s first John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oiler, was ceremonially laid at General Dynamics-National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) May 13.

Future USNS John Lewis (T-AO-205) Keel Authenticated

A keel laying is the ceremonial 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 an honoree’s initials into a ceremonial keel plate. The ship’s namesake, U.S. Representative John Lewis, and the ship’s sponsor, actress Alfre Woodard, etched their initials into the keel plate.

«We’re honored to have Representative Lewis and Ms. Woodard with us today as we lay the foundation for recapitalizing our nation’s critical fuel-replenishment-at-sea capabilities», said Mike Kosar, Support Ships, Boats and Craft program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. «These ships are steadfast, reliable and allow our warships to defend our freedoms for which Representative Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting».

The John Lewis-class ships are based on commercial design standards and will recapitalize the current T-AO 187-class fleet replenishment oilers to provide underway replenishment of fuel to U.S. Navy ships at sea. These ships are part of the Navy’s Combat Logistics Force.

John Lewis will be operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command and is the first ship named after the civil rights leader and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. Construction of John Lewis began in September 2018, with delivery planned in late 2020.

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, sealift ships, support ships, boats and craft.

Navy Accepts Woody

The Navy accepted delivery of its second Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship, USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (T-ESB 4), February 22.

An undated artist rendering of the future expeditionary sea base USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (T-ESB-4) (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics/Released)
An undated artist rendering of the future expeditionary sea base USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (T-ESB-4) (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics/Released)

The delivery marks the official transfer of the ship from the shipbuilder to the Navy. USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (T-ESB 4) will be owned and operated by Military Sealift Command.

«The delivery of this ship marks an enhancement in the Navy’s forward presence and ability to execute a variety of expeditionary warfare missions», said Captain Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. «Like the ship’s namesake, USNS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams will exemplify the Navy’s commitment to service».

USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (T-ESB 4) is named for Medal of Honor recipient, Hershel Williams. During the battle of Iwo Jima, then-Corporal Williams bravely went forward alone against enemy machine gun fire to open a lane for the infantry. Williams continues to serve his fellow men and women in uniform through his foundation, the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation, established to honor families who have lost a loved one in service to their country.

ESBs are highly flexible, modular platforms that are optimized to support a variety of maritime based missions including Special Operations Force, Airborne Mine Counter Measures operations, humanitarian support and command and control of traditional military missions. The ESBs include a four-spot flight deck, 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 commanders require, providing the fleet with a critical access infrastructure that supports the flexible deployment of forces and supplies.

USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (T-ESB 4) was constructed by General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego. NASSCO is also constructing the future USNS Miguel Keith (T-ESB-5).

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.

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.

Christening of «Woody»

The U.S. Navy christened the Expeditionary Sea Base future USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (ESB-4) during a 10 a.m. PDT ceremony Saturday, October 21, at General Dynamics NASSCO, San Diego.

USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams on christening day
USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams on christening day

The future USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (ESB-4) is the first ship to bear the name of Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer Hershel Woodrow Williams, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient recognized for heroism at the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.

Major General Eric M. Smith, commanding general, 1st Marine Division, delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Williams’s daughters, Tracie Jean Ross and Travie Jane Ross, who serve as the ship’s sponsors, broke a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship, a time-honored Navy tradition.

«This ship honors a man who dedicated his life to service-heroic service as a Marine and continued service to his fellow veterans», said the Honorable Richard V. Spencer, secretary of the Navy. «This dedication will live on in USNS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams as the ship is deployed around the world bringing additional capability to our growing fleet. The ceremony on Saturday will also represent the dedication to service demonstrated by the men and women who worked tirelessly to build this ship and their commitment to quality and innovation».

The future USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (ESB-4) is optimized to support a variety of maritime-based missions and designed around four core capabilities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging support and command and control assets. ESBs can be enhanced to meet special operations force missions through increased communications, aviation and unmanned aircraft system support.

Built by General Dynamics NASSCO, the Montford Point-class is comprised of five ships across two variants: expeditionary transfer docks and expeditionary sea bases. USNS Montford Point (ESD-1), USNS John Glenn (ESD-2) and USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3) have been delivered to the fleet. USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (ESB-4) is planned to join the fleet in 2018, with ESB-5 to follow in 2019.

The platform has an aviation hangar and flight deck that include two operating spots capable of landing Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion equivalent helicopters, accommodations, work spaces and ordnance storage for an embarked force. The platform will also provide enhanced command and control, communications, computers and intelligence capabilities to support embarked force mission planning and execution. The reconfigurable mission deck area can store embarked force equipment including mine sleds and rigid hull inflatable boats.

An undated artist rendering of the future expeditionary sea base USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (T-ESB 4) (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics/Released)
An undated artist rendering of the future expeditionary sea base USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (T-ESB 4) (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics/Released)

First Deployment

The U.S. Navy’s first purpose-built expeditionary sea base, USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3), departed from Naval Station Norfolk to begin its first operational deployment, July 10. Puller is deploying to the U.S. 5th Fleet to provide operational support for U.S. Navy and allied forces operating in the region.

The Military Sealift Command expeditionary mobile base USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) departs Naval Station Norfolk for its first operational deployment (U.S. Navy photo)
The Military Sealift Command expeditionary mobile base USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) departs Naval Station Norfolk for its first operational deployment (U.S. Navy photo)

«We call ourselves ‘Team Puller,’» said Commander Arlen Rose, the military detachment’s officer in charge. «The Puller is a brand-new ship, so we had a lot to learn. The military crew has been training with the ship’s civil service mariners for a year to prepare for this deployment». «We are ready to get Puller out there to takes its rightful place in the fleet», added Rose. «Everyone is really excited to get to work and see what the Puller can do».

USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) was delivered to the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) in June 2015 and is the Navy’s first purpose-built expeditionary sea base. The ship has a hybrid-manned crew with a combination of military personnel and civilian mariners (CIVMAR).

«The CIVMARs aboard Puller primarily focus on the operation of the ship», said Captain George McCarthy, the Puller’s master. «The CIVMARs perform a variety of critical tasks including navigation, propulsion and ventilation services».

The 784-foot-long/239-meter-long vessel features a 52,000 square-foot/4,831 square-meter flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, and mission-planning spaces. Able to accommodate up to 250 personnel, USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) will support multiple missions, such as air mine counter measures, counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions, and crisis response operations.

According to McCarthy, the Puller is going to be permanently deployed overseas, which saves a tremendous amount of time in terms of operations. So, the ship’s maintenance, repairs and crew swaps will take place in theater.

USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) is named after Lieutenant General, Lewis Burwell «Chesty» Puller, one of the most decorated members of the Marine Corps. He is one of only two men, and the only Marine, to be awarded five Navy Crosses. He fought in Haiti and Nicaragua, and participated in battles of World War II and the Korean War. Puller retired from the Marine Corps in 1955 and spent the remainder of his life in Virginia.

USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) is the expeditionary sea base-variant of the expeditionary transfer dock (ESD) which includes USNS Montford Point (T-ESD-1) and USNS John Glenn (T-ESD-2). The second expeditionary sea base, USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (T-ESB-4), is currently under construction by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) in San Diego.

MSC operates approximately 120 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, and strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world, while moving military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

USNS Lewis B. Puller deploys from Naval Station Norfolk

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.

Sea Base Ship

Secretary of the U.S. Navy Ray Mabus announced the Navy’s newest Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship, T-ESB-4, was named USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams during a ceremony in Charleston, West Virginia, January 14.

SECNAV Ray Mabus greets Medal of Honor recipient Hershel Woody Williams before naming T-ESB-4 in his honor
SECNAV Ray Mabus greets Medal of Honor recipient Hershel Woody Williams before naming T-ESB-4 in his honor

Hershel «Woody» Williams, the ship’s namesake, was born in West Virginia and joined the Marine Corps following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In 1944, after serving in Guadalcanal and Guam, he joined the campaign in Iwo Jima. Two days after arriving on the island, Williams picked up a 70-pound flamethrower and walked ahead of his infantry’s tanks for four hours clearing their path of enemy machine gun fire. President Harry S. Truman awarded him the Medal of Honor two years later for his actions.

Williams served during the Battle of Iwo Jima until he was wounded in March of 1945. He returned to the United States, was awarded a Purple Heart and released from active duty. Later, he served in the Marine Corps Reserves for 17 years.

Williams is the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the Battle of Iwo Jima.

The new 785-foot-long/239.3-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.

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

In addition, the vessel will be capable of supporting MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters, with an option for future upgrades to support MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft.

USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams will be constructed by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) in San Diego. The ship is expected to be delivered to the Navy in 2018.

ESB 3D Model
ESB 3D Model

 

General Characteristics

Builder NASSCO
Propulsion Commercial Diesel Electric Propulsion
Length 785 feet/239.3 m
Beam 164 feet/50 m
Displacement 78,000 tons (fully loaded)
Draft 30 feet/9 m (fully loaded)
40 feet/12 m (load line)
Speed 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h
Range 9,500 nautical miles/10,932 miles/17,594 km
Crew 34 Military Sealift Command personnel
Accommodations 250 personnel