The U.S. Navy has awarded National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) a $709-million contract for the design and construction of the first two ships in the T-AKE program, a new class of combat logistics force ships. The award includes options exercisable by the Navy for 10 additional ships over the next six years for a potential contract value of approximately $3.7 billion. This contract concludes more than two years of intense competition among America’s leading shipyards. Functional design work on the T-AKE will begin immediately, with delivery of the first ship scheduled for 2005.
The T-AKE 1 is a dry cargo ammunition ship. Designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea while providing underway replenishment services, the T-AKE will directly contribute to the ability of the Navy to maintain a forward presence.
These ships will provide logistic lift from sources of supply either in port or at sea and will transfer cargo - ammunition, food, fuel, repair parts, and expendable supplies and material - to station ships and other naval warfare forces at sea. T-AKE will be 210 meters (689 feet) in length and 32.2 meters (105.6 feet) in beam, with a design draft of 9.12 meters (29.9 feet). The ship will carry almost 7,000 tons of dry cargo and ammunition and 23,500 barrels of marine diesel and jet aviation fuel. The ship will be operated by the Military Sealift Command and will be built to commercial standards, incorporating the latest in marine propulsion, ship safety and navigation, and environmental control systems. The T-AKE will be the first modern Navy ship with an integrated electric-drive propulsion system, and has been designed for improved cargo handling efficiency and to minimize the costs of operation and maintenance over its expected 40-year life.