Saturday, September 26, 2009

T-AKE 12 Construction Commences

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Construction began on the future USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12) Sept. 22 at the General Dynamics-NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.

The official start of fabrication is traditionally marked by a 'Start Fab' ceremony that signifies the commencement of full-scale production of a ship's physical structure.

"Five years ago, we started construction on the first ship of the T-AKE class," said Frank McCarthey, program manager for Support Ships, Boats and Craft in the Navy's Program Executive Office, Ships (PEO Ships). "Since then, we've delivered eight ships, seven of which are already key fleet assets. The Navy/NASSCO team has been aggressive in looking for cost and schedule reductions, and that has really contributed to the success of the T-AKE program."

As this class has entered serial production, NASSCO has increased learning and production efficiencies to make substantial reductions in labor hours on the program.

T-AKE class ships are dry cargo and ammunition replenishment vessels that are replacing Military Sealift Command's aging fleet of single-mission ammunition ships and combat stores ships. T-AKE 12 will help the Navy maintain a worldwide forward presence by delivering ammunition, food, fuel, and other dry cargo to the United States and allied ships at sea. The ship is designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea, and can carry and support two helicopters to conduct vertical replenishment.

Continuing the Lewis and Clark-class tradition of honoring legendary pioneers and explorers, T-AKE 12 honors William Burdette McLean (1914-1976). McLean conceived and developed the heat-seeking Sidewinder air-to-air missile while serving as a physicist for the Navy at the Naval Ordnance Test Station in China Lake, Calif. T-AKE 12 is the first Navy ship named after McLean.

PEO Ships is currently managing the design and construction of 21 major surface ships and a wide range of small boats and craft. Since its creation in November 2002, PEO Ships has delivered 35 major warships and hundreds of small boats and craft from more than 20 shipyards and boat builders across the United States. PEO Ships is committed to affordable and efficient shipbuilding and is focused on the necessity of getting ships into serial production, which is leading to significant cost and schedule reductions across the shipbuilding portfolio.