NASSCO launches second oiler in John Lewis class

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(SAN DIEGO) — General Dynamics NASSCO christened and launched the future USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206) on Saturday, the second ship for the U.S. Navy’s John Lewis-class fleet oiler program. Stuart Milk, nephew of the ship’s namesake and co-founder and president of the Harvey Milk Foundation, served as the principal speaker at the ceremony in addition to remarks from NASSCO and Navy representatives.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Paula Neira, Navy veteran and clinical program director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health, were the ship’s sponsors. Prior to launching the 742-foot-long ship down the ways, Neira christened the ship with the traditional champagne bottle break alongside the hull.

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General Dynamics NASSCO photo

Former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus declared the John Lewis class of oilers be named after leaders who fought for civil and human rights. The second of six ships honors Harvey Milk, human and civil rights activist who dedicated his life advocating for equality.

“Leaders like Harvey Milk taught us that diversity of backgrounds and experiences help contribute to the strength and resolve of our nation,” said Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro. “There is no doubt that the future sailors aboard this ship will be inspired by Milk’s life and legacy.”

In 2016, General Dynamics NASSCO was awarded the contract by the Navy for the detailed design and construction of the next generation of fleet oilers, the John Lewis class (T-AO 205). The contract calls for the design and construction of six ships with a full load displacement of 49,850 tons. Designed to transfer fuel to Navy carrier strike group ships operating at sea, the oilers have the capacity to carry 157,000 barrels of oil, a significant dry cargo capacity, aviation capability and up to a speed of 20 knots. The John Lewis-class ships will replace the current T-AO 187-class fleet replacement oilers.

In addition to the christening of this ship, two ships in the T-AO class fleet oiler program for the Navy – the future USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207) and the future USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208) – are currently under construction. The lead ship, the future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), was launched earlier this year.

– General Dynamics NASSCO

By Professional Mariner Staff