On May 7, the U.S. Navy accepted the delivery of the 746’x106’x33.5’ John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oiler, the USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207). 

Delivery follows the successful completion of Integrated Sea Trials to test the readiness and capability of the ship and to validate requirements. The vessel was built at General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD-NASSCO). The keel laying ceremony occurred on April 30, 2022.

John Lighthammer, program manager of the Auxiliary and Special Mission Shipbuilding Program Office, said in a statement, “Delivery of the third ship in the class will bring more refueling capability directly to the fleet, including replenishment underway capacity.” Lighthammer continued, “The civilian mariners who crew this ship will have the tools they need to operate in often rapidly changing environments.”

The John Lewis-class ships are based on commercial design standards and will recapitalize the current T-AO 187-class fleet replenishment oilers to provide underway replenishment of fuel and lubricating oil, small quantities of fresh and frozen provisions, stores, and potable water to U.S. Navy carrier strike group ships operating at sea, including fuel for embarked aircraft. These ships are part of the Navy's Combat Logistics Force, and they have the capacity to carry 157,000 barrels of oil, a significant dry cargo capacity, and aviation capability.

Fairbanks Morse Engine (FME), a division of Fairbanks Morse Defense (FMD), provided the two main propulsion diesel engines. According to FME, the engines feature common rail technology, which provides an advanced control system to deliver precise amounts of fuel throughout all engine operations. The USNS Earl Warren can reach speeds up to 20 knots.

GD-NASSCO is also in production on future T-AOs USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208), USNS Lucy Stone (T-AO 209), and USNS Sojourner Truth (T-AO 210). Future TAOs USNS Thurgood Marshall (T-AO 211), USNS Ruth Bader Ginsburg (T-AO 212), and USNS Harriet Tubman (T-AO 213) are under contract.

As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, Program Executive Office Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships and craft, auxiliary ships, special mission ships, sealift ships, and support ships.

WorkBoat reached out to GD-NASSCO for further specs on the USNS Earl Warren

Ben Hayden is a Maine resident who grew up in the shipyards of northern Massachusetts. He can be reached at (207) 842-5430 and [email protected].