San Diego-based General Dynamics NASSCO has been awarded a contract by the US Navy for the detailed design and construction of the next generation of fleet oilers, the John Lewis-class (TAO-205), previously known as the TAO(X). The contract is for the construction of six ships.
The first ship of the program was funded in the fiscal year 2016 budget, allowing engineering and design work to begin immediately. The US Navy’s FY 2017 budget requests advance procurement for a second ship, with procurement expected to occur in FY 2018.
The oilers are designed to transfer fuel to US Navy surface ships operating at sea and will have the capacity to carry 156,000 barrels of oil, including the Navy’s new biofuels. They also offer a significant dry cargo capacity, aviation capability and will be able to reach a top speed of 20 knots.
“We are pleased to be building the next generation of oilers,” General Dynamics NASSCO and Bath Iron Works President Fred Harris said. “With this award, we will now proceed with engineering and design work.”
NASSCO has an extensive history of building ships for the US Navy; similar to the TAO-205 program, NASSCO shipbuilders recently completed a 14-ship T-AKE program.
Currently, the San Diego-based shipbuilder is under contract to construct its fourth Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) for the US Navy, the USNS Hershel Williams, and to procure long-lead time material and engineering support for a fifth ESB.