Re: T-AKE Dry Cargo / Ammunition Ship
US Navy on the T-AKE As It Beefs Up Supply Ship Capacity (updated)23-Jul-2007 17:39 | Permanent LinkRelated stories: Contracts - Awards, New Systems Tech, Americas - USA, Logistics, Surface Ships - Other, Contracts - Modifications, Design Innovations, Logistics Innovations, Power Projection, Force Structure, Forces - Naval, Issues - Environmental, General Dynamics
The entire T-AKE dry cargo/ ammunition ship program could have a total value of as much as $4 billion, as the US looks to modernize its supply ship fleet. Indeed, the House Armed Services Committee recently put together an FY 2008 budget that added $456 million for another T-AKE ship though this figure would not cover all of the internal systems et. al. that must be added to make it operational.
How do T-AKE ships fit into US naval operations? What ships do they replace? What's the tie-in to US civilian industrial capacity? How were environmental standards built into their design? And what contracts have been issued for T-AKE ships to date? DID has answers in this FOCUS Article; recent updates include a ship christening, a naming, and an advance appropriation for the 10th ship of class
T-AKE Ships: Mission
T-AKE multi-product fleet replenishment ships will provide logistics lift to station ships and other ships operating with naval forces from supply sources such as friendly ports, and at sea from merchant vessels. In other words, their primary mission is to provide a steady stream of ammunition, spare parts and provisions (dry, refrigerated and frozen) to naval forces at sea in their role as a shuttle ship.
As a secondary mission, they may operate in concert with a T-AO oiler as a semi-substitute for one AOE-1 Sacramento Class, or with AOE-6 Supply Class fast combat logistics support ships if the situation so dictates. Given the T-AKE's fuel capacity, it would certainly require at least a T-AO oiler as well in order to service any Carrier or Amphibious strike group.
The AOEs are also referred to as "station ships." They offer a form of one-stop shopping by carrying dry stores (food, consumables, spare parts), ammunition (bombs, missiles) and fuel (oil, jet fuel), and are able to transfer them all simultaneously. Often, shuttle ships simply resupply the AOE station ship.
Lewis and Clark Class T-AKE dry cargo/ammunition ships will provide a 2-product (ammunition and combat stores including dry stores, frozen and chilled products, spare parts and consumables) shuttle ship replacement for US Military Sealift Command's aging Combat Store (T-AFS 1 Mars Class) and Ammunition (T-AE 26 Kilauea Class) shuttle ships. They are designed to be fully inter-operable with all US Navy and North Atlantic Treaty organization ships capable of underway replenishment, using standard US Navy Underway Replenishment (UNREP) equipment or improved systems developed by industry. The specifications demanded that the transfer rates for ammunition and stores must be at least equal to those of the AOE-6 Class.
The T-AKEs are 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). They displace 41,000 tons, and the ships can carry almost 7,000 metric tons of dry cargo and ammunition and 23,500 barrels of marine diesel fuel.
Named ships of the T-AKE Lewis and Clark Class all have a strong exploration bent, and include:
- T-AKE 1 Lewis & Clark
- T-AKE 2 Sacagawea
- T-AKE 3 Alan Sheppard
- T-AKE 4 Richard E Byrd
- T-AKE 5 Robert E. Peary
- T-AKE 6 Amelia Earhart
The contract has the potential for a total of 12 ships to be awarded through 2007 with a total value of $3.7 billion. A July 23/07 GD NASSCO release, however, says that "The Navy is expected to order a total of 11 T-AKE ships for MSC service, and three additional ships for its Maritime Prepositioning Force." Their crews are Civilian Mariners, aka CIVMARs civilian mariners who function under Secretary of the Navy instructions and are Excepted Service employees of the US government. As such, these ships are are "placed in service" rather than commissioned. US MSC's Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force serves as their program manager, but the ships assigned to Fleet Forces Command.
T-AKE Ships: The Civilian Industry Angle
As a deliberate design decision, T-AKE ships have been built to commercial standards to the extent that this was practical. The commercial standards approach removes the potential bottlenecks of military standards, and removes the need for commercial shipbuilders to follow a whole different set of procedures and requirements. This minimizes costs, allows the USA to take advantage of industry innovations and commercial best practices (which can reduce life cycle cost and improve efficiencies), and allows the shipbuilders to build up their civilian industrial capacity.
That last item was especially important to the T-AKE program.
In recent decades, a lot of civilian shipbuilding has migrated away from the United States. This has obvious implications for the overall sustainability of the US shipbuilding industry, and leads to associated national security self-sufficiency concerns for the world's pre-eminent naval power. GlobalSecurity.org notes that the ADC (X) program (which eventually became T-AKE) was seen as especially critical to demonstrate America's ability to produce affordable and flexible container-type ships without going overseas. The idea was that ships would contribute to America's overall shipbuilding infrastructure because their design would be a common hull having tremendous application to the civilian shipbuilding industry. So T-AKE's goal was really two-fold: re-capitalization of the Navy's sealift needs, and implementing a program that would impact America's ability to competitively build ships on the civilian market.
NASSCO's January 31, 2006 release noted that the exercise of the option for the 9th T-AKE ship brings NASSCO's backlog to 10 ships, including the 9 T-AKEs and the 4th of 4 double-hull oil tankers being built for BP Shipping Company of Alaska.
T-AKE Ships and the EnvironmentThe existing T-AO Kaiser Class Fleet Oilers are not all double-hulled like the T-AKE only the last 3 T-AOs are double-hulled. The Kaiser Class will need to be updated to meet international oil pollution conventions, and to address the wear being placed on them by the current high operational tempo.
Given the inevitable reductions in active T-AO ships during the refit period, T-AKE vessels will be particularly welcome in the fleet. For several reasons.
GlobalSecurity.org notes that this new class of T-AKE ships was envisaged as the first Navy Environmentally Sound Ship of the 21st Century built with protection of the marine environment as a design objective. Performance requirements were crafted in the T-AKE ships' System Specification that would ensure compliance with environmental regulations projected for the next 20 years.
Central themes are compliance with international and national regulations, adaptation of pollution prevention measures though elimination of pollutants at the source (design them out at the onset), establishment of a hazardous material prohibition list, and a second list of materials that may only be used with government concurrence. USNS Lewis and Clark is the first Navy ship designed to be Ozone Depleting Substance free. It is also capable of performing mid-ocean ballast water exchange to minimize introduction of invasive species, and incorporates a combined sewage/graywater treatment system, and a double hull around cargo fuel areas to afford port access. Analysis of total pollutant loading between the T-AFS and T-AE ships and the T-ADC (X)/ T-AKE design showed a drop of 95% in total pollutants being introduced into the marine environment.
Management of the Environmental Protection Program rests with the Assistant Project Manager, and the government/ industry team is responsible for ensuring environmental performance through the Environmental Protection Working Group.
The T-AKE program received a Secretary of Defense Environmental Award on May 1, 2002.
T-AKE Ships: Contracts & Events
As noted below, the initial October 2001 contract, called for the design and construction of the lead ship and the first follow ship. Ten additional follow ships were included as contract options. At the time, the total cost if all options were exercised was projected at $3.75 billion (presumably in FY 2001 dollars). T-AKE appropriations for 1 ship per year have risen steadily over the past 3 years, from $386.3 million in FY 2006, to $453.2 million in 2007 to $456.1 million (and possibly $912.1 million) in FY 2007.
Unless otherwise specified, The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC issued these contracts and modifications to General Dynamics subsidiary National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (GD NASSCO) in San Diego, CA, under vehicle # N00024-02-C-2300:
July 24/07: "The US Navy (USN) and General Dynamics' subsidiary National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) are "very close in negotiations" to restructuring its T-AKE combat and logisitics support ships contract to buy two additional vessels, USN Deputy Assistant Secretary Allison Stiller told Jane's..."
July 20/07: A $100 million fixed-price-incentive modification under previously awarded contract (N00024-02-C-2300), exercising an option for long lead time material and associated labor for the 10th ship of the T-AKE Class (T-AKE 10). The contractor will perform material sourcing, material ordering, vendor interface, and material quality assurance for the ship's engines and other components that have significant manufacturing lead times. Work will be performed in San Diego, CA and is expected to be complete by September 2009.
A contract that funds full construction of the 10th T-AKE ship is expected to be awarded by January 2008. Construction of T-AKE 10 is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2009, with delivery scheduled for the first quarter of 2011. GD NASSCO release.
May 30/07: General Dynamics NASSCO holds a keel-laying ceremony for T-AKE 6. A keel-laying ceremony is a shipbuilding tradition that signifies important milestone as full-scale production begins. In recognition of that milestone, event honoree, Darlene Costello, deputy director for Naval Warfare in the office of under secretary of defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, welded her initials into the keel.
The Amelia Earhart is scheduled to be delivered to the US Military Sealift Command (MSC) in the fall of 2008. GD release.
May 28/07: The US Navy declares that T-AKE 6 will be named USNS Amelia Earhart, in honor of the first woman to fly solo, non-stop across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Hopefully, modern GPS will prevent it from getting lost in the South Pacific. US Navy Newsstand.
May 15/07: The US Navy christens the USNS Richard E. Byrd. The launching ceremony was held at the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego, CA. Mrs. Bolling Byrd Clarke, Byrd's oldest daughter and the ship's sponsor, christened the ship by breaking the traditional bottle of champagne against its bow. GD release | a US Navy release describes the accomplishments of the ship's namesake.
May 11/07: Healy Tibbitts Builders, Inc. in Aiea, HI received a $12.6 million firm-fixed price Task Order 0016 under previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award construction contract (N62742-04-D-1300) to dredge West Loch Channel at Naval Magazine, Pearl Harbor, so it will accommodate a T-AKE vessel. Construction dredging in the West Loch Channel will provide access and berthing facilities at Wharves W1, W2, and W3 for the T-AKE vessel. The project will also undertake horizontal directional drilling construction of a water line under West Loch channel, and bank stabilization along the dredged/excavated shoreline along Baltimore Point by slope control.
Work will be performed in Pearl Harbor, HI and is expected to be complete by October 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii received 3 proposals for this task order.
May 10/07: House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) has announced that H.R. 1585, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008, has been reported favorably by the committee on a vote of 58-0. The proposed bill includes $456 million for a second T-AKE ship in FY 2008, bringing the fleet to 12 though this figure would not cover all of the internal systems et. al. that must be added to make it operational. MarineLog report.
Feb 27/07: After completing sea trials off the southern California coast, dry cargo/ ammunition ship USNS Sacagawea [T-AKE 2] was delivered to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command. See Navy release.
Dec 15-16/06: USNS Lewis and Clark [T-AKE 1] conducted its first-ever underway replenishment as part of Operation Evaluation Event No. 1 alongside the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt [CVN 71]. The successful UNREP training evolution completed the first of 14 phases of training for Lewis and Clark, assessing the ship's ability to conduct a ship-ship UNREP and MH-60S helicopter-based vertical replenishment (VERTREP) simultaneously. See Navy release.
Dec 7/06: Detyens Shipyards Inc. in North Charleston, SC received a $6.45 million firm-fixed-price contract for a 90-calendar-day Post Shipyard Availability of Military Sealift Command's dry cargo ammunition ship USNS Lewis & Clark (T-AKE 1). The contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the total contract value to $8.4 million. Work will be performed in North Charleston, SC, and is expected to be completed within 90 calendar days from the commencement of the contract in February 2007. This contract was competitively procured with 2 offers received by US Navy Military Sealift Fleet Support Command, a field activity of US Military Sealift Command (N40442-07-C-3000).
Dec 6/06: The USNS Alan Shepard [T-AKE 3] is christened during a launching at General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) in San Diego, CA. Meanwhile, DID reader Lee R. Wahler wonders "whether the ship's proper name is [USNS] Alan B. Shepard, Jr or the shortened version [USNS Alan Shepard] which the media types use? For those unfamiliar with the distinction, the proper name is what ends up on the Certificate of Ownership.
June 24/06: The USNS Sacagawea [T-AKE 2] is christened and launched during a twilight ceremony at General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, CA. The ship is named for a Native American from the Lemhi Shoshone tribe; she served as guide and interpreter for the Lewis and Clark expedition.
July 28/06: T-AKE 4 and 5 named. The US Department of the Navy announces the naming of USNS Richard E. Byrd [T-AKE 4] for the famed Antarctic explorer. As an interesting sidenote, Byrd also led the first expedition to fly over the North Pole. USNS Robert E. Peary [T-AKE 5] is named for the famed Arctic explorer, who is credited as the first person to reach the geographic North Pole.
June 20/06: The USNS Lewis and Clark, the first T-AKE ship, is delivered to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command.
Jan 30/06: A $317.1 million fixed-price-incentive modification for design and construction of the 9th T-AKE Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ship (of 12). Work will be performed in San Diego, CA, and is expected to be complete by May 2009. GD NASSCO release.
Jan 11/05: A $586.3 million fixed-price-incentive option provides full funding of the detailed design and construction of the seventh and eighth T-AKE Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ships ($293.1 million per ship). Work will be performed in San Diego, CA, and is expected to be comple by May 1, 2008 for the seventh ship and July 31, 2008 for the eighth ship.
Jan 27/04: A $578.2 million fixed-price-incentive modification provides full funding of the detailed design and construction of the fifth and sixth T-AKE Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ships ($289.1 million per ship). Work will be performed in San Diego, CA, and is expected to be complete by July 2007.
July 18/03: A $287.6 million fixed-price-incentive modification exercises an option for design and construction of the fourth T-AKE Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ship. This contract will provide for the full funding of the detail design and construction of the fourth ship of the T-AKE Class. Work will be performed in San Diego, CA, and is expected to be complete by December 2006.
July 16/02: A $289.9 million fixed-price-incentive modification exercises an option for design and construction of the third T-AKE Dry Cargo and Ammunition Ship. Work will be performed in San Diego and is to be complete by May 2006. NASSCO would later note that construction on the third T-AKE, to be named the USNS Alan Shepard in honor of the first American in space, began in September 2005.
Oct 18/01: A $406.9 million fixed-price-incentive (firm targets) contract for the detailed design and construction of the lead ship of the auxiliary cargo and ammunition ship class. T-AKE 1 would later be christened the USNS Lewis and Clark on May 21, 2005. The contract also provides for spare and repair parts, special studies and analyses, engineering and industrial services and technical data.
Concurrent with this contract award, the US Navy exercised an option for the detailed design and construction of the first follow ship in the amount of $301.6 million. T-AKE 2 would be named USNS Sacagewea, and the original contract has 10 remaining options for follow ships which, if exercised, would bring the total cumulative contract value to $3.75 billion.
Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (75.7%); Iron Mountain, MI (9.3%); Waynesboro, VA (3.9%); Philadelphia, PA (3.5%); Beloit, WI. (3%); Belle Chasse, LA (1.8%); Kingsford, MI (1.8%); Scarborough, ME (0.5%); and Willis, TX (0.5%), and is expected to be complete by September 2005. This contract was competitively procured and advertised via the Commerce Business Daily and posted to the Naval Sea Systems Command web site. There were three offers received by the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC.
(DID thanks reader Lee Wahler for sharing his USNS expertise, and assisting with research for this article.)
Additional Readings & Sources
- US Military Sealift Command Ship Inventory USNS LEWIS AND CLARK (T-AKE 1) Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ship
- General Dynamics NASSCO T-AKE Program. See also the Lewis and Clark (T-AKE) Class Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ship T-AKE Fact Sheet. Includes a helpful quick list of the ship's capabilities.
- US Navy Fact File Advanced Auxiliary Dry Cargo Ships T-AKE
- GlobalSecurity.org Combat Logistics Force. Includes a helpful quick reference table with capacities for the various US ships that operate in this role.
- GlobalSecurity.org T-AKE-1 Lewis and Clark. Shuttle ships/ swing ships.
- GlobalSecurity.org T-AFS 1 Mars. Dry goods and refrigerated shuttle ships.
- GlobalSecurity.org T-AE-26 Kilauea. Ammunition shuttle ships.
- GlobalSecurity.org T-AO-187 Henry Kaiser. Oiler ship, can work with T-AKE to replace an AOE ship in a pinch.
- GlobalSecurity.org AOE-1 Sacramento. Station ships.
- GlobalSecurity.org T-AOE-6 Supply. Station ships.
- US Department of Defense (May 19/05) Navy to Christen New Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ship USNS Lewis and Clark. Ship's class names are derived from the first ship in their class, so this is now the T-AKE-1 Lewis and Clark Class.
- US Department of Defense (May 1/02) DOD Presents Environmental Awards