Lewis and Clark class dry cargo ship
The Lewis and Clark class of dry cargo ship is the next class of Combat Logistics Force (CLF) underway replenishment vessels to be constructed for the United States Navy's Military Sealift Command. Lewis and Clark-class ships will replace the existing fifteen Mars- and Sirius-class combat store ships and the Kilauea-class ammunition ships. When operating in concert with a Henry J. Kaiser-class oiler the Lewis and Clarks will also replace Sacramento-class fast combat support ships. The first of the planned twelve ships, USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE-1), was placed in service with the MSC in June 2006, and is being designed for a forty-year service life. The ships will be named for famous American explorers and pioneers.
The primary role of the Lewis and Clarks is to provide logistic lift from supply sources such as friendly ports, or while at sea, from specially equipped merchant ships by consolidation. Lewis and Clarks will transfer cargo (ammunition, food, limited quantities of fuel, repair parts, ship store items, and expendable supplies and material) to station ships and other naval warfare forces. As auxiliary support ships, Lewis and Clarks will directly contribute to the Navy's ability to maintain a forward presence. When operating together with Henry J. Kaiser-class oilers Lewis and Clarks will provide the carrier battle group and/or amphibious readiness group with product lift equivalent to a Supply-class fast combat support ship.
Construction of the lead ship, USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE-1), was awarded to National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) of San Diego, California, on 18 October 2001. The contract contains options for eleven additional ships. The option for the second ship, USNS Sacagawea (T-AKE-2), was exercised simultaneously with award of Lewis and Clark. The option for an additional ship was exercised in 2002, for another in 2003, for two more in 2004, for two more ships in 2005, for one in 2006, and for three more ships in 2008. As of 2009[update], a total of fourteen ships had been ordered. In 2010, General Dynamics NASSCO was awarded the contract to build the last two ships in the class.
|Ship||Hull. No.||Launched||In Service||Status||NVR Page||MSC Page|
|Lewis and Clark||T-AKE-1||2005-05-21||2006-06-20||In service|||||
|Alan Shepard||T-AKE-3||2006-12-06||2007-06-26||In Service|||||
|Richard E. Byrd||T-AKE-4||2007-05-15||2008-01-08||In Service|||||
|Robert E. Peary||T-AKE-5||2007-10-27||2008-06-05||In Service|||||
|Amelia Earhart||T-AKE-6||2008-04-06||2008-10-30||In Service|||||
|Carl Brashear||T-AKE-7||2008-09-18||2009-03-04||In Service|||||
|Wally Schirra||T-AKE-8||2009-03-08||2009-09-01||In Service|||||
On February 8, 2008, dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Lewis and Clark — the first ship in Military Sealift Command's newest class of ships — returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Va., after its first deployment.
The ship successfully completed a six-month tour to the U.S. Central Command area of operations to resupply U.S. Navy ships — providing logistics support in the Persian Gulf, around the Horn of Africa, along the length of Somalia and beyond the equator.
USNS Sacagawea (T-AKE-2) got underway for its first deployment 11 December 2008 in the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet area of operations.
USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE-4) entered the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet area of operations July 24, 2008, marking the arrival of the first Lewis and Clark-class combat logistics support ship in service to the 52 million-square-mile region.
- Bill Cook (March 2008). "USNS Lewis & Clark completes first deployment". Sealift (Military Sealift Command). http://www.msc.navy.mil/sealift/2008/March/lewisandclark.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
- Gillian Brigham (April 2008). "T-AKE 2 working hard during first deployment". Sealift (MCS). http://www.msc.navy.mil/sealift/2008/April/sacagawea.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
- Rosemary Heiss (September 2008). "T-AKE begins logistics operations in 7th Fleet". Sealift (MCS). http://www.msc.navy.mil/sealift/2008/September/byrd.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
- Military Sealift Command
- NASSCO/General Dynamics Corporation
- Military Sealift Command Fact Sheet, Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ships - T-AKE
- US Navy on the T-AKE As It Beefs Up Supply Ship Capacity (updated) at Defense Industry Daily