Monday, June 15, 2015

NASSCO Delivers USNS Ship

By Mark Edward Nero

San Diego-based shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO on June 12 delivered the US Navy’s newest ship, the USNS Lewis B. Puller, the first purpose-built afloat forward staging base (AFSB) vessel.

The $135 million ship, which is 764 feet long (233 meters), has a beam of 164 feet (50 meters) and can reach a top speed of 15 knots, is named after late US Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Lewis “Chesty” Puller, the most decorated Marine in history.

“Today’s delivery of the USNS Lewis B. Puller to the US Navy symbolizes an immense culmination of efforts made by the hard-working men and women of the General Dynamics NASSCO shipbuilding team,” said Kevin Mooney, vice president of operations at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard.

Special modifications to the vessel include a 52,000 square-foot flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, mission planning spaces and accommodations for up to 250 personnel.

The ship is capable of supporting multiple missions including Air Mine Counter Measures (AMCM), counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions and Marine Corps crisis response. The ship’s also designed to support MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters, and is expected to be upgraded to support MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft.

Construction on the Lewis B. Puller began in 2013. Earlier this year, NASSCO shipbuilders christened the ship with a ceremony at the company’s San Diego shipyard.

In December 2014, the US Navy awarded NASSCO a design-build contract for a Mobile Landing Platform to be configured as an Afloat Forward Staging Base, an assault ship serving as a floating base for amphibious operations.

Construction’s scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2015.