National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) has announced that the US Navy has exercised an option to build a third ship for the T-AKE program, a new class of combat logistics force ships. NASSCO was awarded a $290 million contract for construction of the ship.
The company was awarded a $709 million contract in October 2001 for the design and construction of the first two ships in the T-AKE program. The original award included options exercisable by the Navy for 10 additional ships over six years, for a potential contract value of approximately $3.7 billion.
Functional design work on the T-AKE, which has been designated the Lewis and Clark class, has already begun, with delivery of the first ship scheduled for 2005.
The T-AKE is a dry cargo/ammunition ship designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea.
According to NASSCO), the T-AKE will contribute to the Navy’s ability to maintain its forward presence, replacing ageing T-AE ammunition ships and T-AFS combat stores ships that are nearing the end of their service lives.
The T-AKEs will be the first modern Navy ships with an integrated electric- drive propulsion system, and have been designed to maximise cargo-handling efficiency and minimise the costs of operation and maintenance over their expected 40-year life.