T-AO fleet replenishment oilers are a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats. The platform is capable of supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence.
In June 2016, the Navy awarded the contract to General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) in San Diego for the design and construction of the Future Fleet Replenishment Ship, the John Lewis-class (T-AO 205), formerly known as the T-AO(X). Construction commenced in September 2018, and the first ship was christened in 2021.
Legacies of the Henry J. Kaiser-class Fleet Replenishment Oilers (T-AO), the new John Lewis-class T-AOs carry jet fuel, diesel fuel and lubricating oil, small quantities of fresh and frozen provisions, stores, potable water and more. The John Lewis-class ships will be operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command and provide underway replenishment of fuel and stores to U.S. Navy ships at sea and jet fuel for aircraft assigned to aircraft carriers. These ships will add capacity to the Navy’s Combat Logistics Force and become the cornerstone of the fuel delivery system.
General characteristics of the John Lewis-class include:
- Twin shaft propulsion, geared medium speed diesels with PTO generators/PTI,
- 227.3 meters in length, 32.2 meters beam,
- Displacement of 22,513 metric tons,
- Speed of 20 knots,
- Crew of 99 civilian mariners,
- Dry store capacities of 1,530 m3 freeze and a chill capacity of 1,646 m3,
- Landing platform for vertical replenishment can accommodate H-1, H-53, H-60, MV-22, and MSC’s commercial logistics helicopters,
The first of these new ships, the USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), was christened in July 2021. Currently under construction are the Harvey Milk (T-AO 206), Earl Warren (T-AO 207), and Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208). The Lucy Stone (T-AO 209) and the Sojourner Truth (T-AO 210) are under contract.