General Dynamics NASSCO started work on the fifth mobile sea base to act as a lily pad for Marine, special operations forces and Navy mine countermeasure aircraft, the company announced.
The latest in the U.S. Navy’s Expeditionary Transfer Dock (ESD)/Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) program began construction on Wednesday following an award of $106.2 million long lead contract for the program in June.
“The ship, ESB 5, is the fifth to be added to a contract between NASSCO and the U.S. Navy that originally called for two Expeditionary Transfer Docks: USNS Montford Point (T-ESD-1) and USNS John Glenn (T-ESD-2),” read the announcement.
The ship – which will be based on an Alaska-class oil tanker – will feature a 52,000 square-foot flight deck to accommodate MH-53, MH-60 helicopters and MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft and will be the third of three planned ESB. The ship will also host fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, mission planning spaces and accommodations for up to 250 personnel.
The first ESB — USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) – delivered to the Navy in 2015 and the second Hershel “Woody” Williams (T-ESB-4) is currently under construction.
The Navy is currently using the former amphibious warship Austin-class LPD, USS Ponce (AFSB-(I)-15), as a temporary Middle East ESB.
The following is the complete announcement from NASSCO.
General Dynamics NASSCO Begins Construction on Fifth Ship in Expeditionary Sea Base Program for U.S. Navy
SAN DIEGO – On Wednesday, January 25, General Dynamics NASSCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), began construction on a fifth ship for the U.S. Navy’s Expeditionary Transfer Dock (ESD)/Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) program.
Designed to provide advanced flexibility and capability for sea-to-shore missions, the newest ESB will include a 52,000 square-foot flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, mission planning spaces and accommodations for up to 250 personnel. Serving as a ‘pier at sea,’ the 784-foot-long ship is also designed to support MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters and MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft.
The ship, ESB 5, is the fifth to be added to a contract between NASSCO and the U.S. Navy that originally called for two Expeditionary Transfer Docks: USNS Montford Point (T-ESD 1) and USNS John Glenn (T-ESD 2).
The first two ships, formerly classified as Mobile Landing Platforms (MLPs), were designed and constructed by NASSCO to support vehicle staging and transfers, and the movement of LCAC vessels. In 2012, a third ship, USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB 3), was added to the contract and reconfigured as an ESB, formerly known as a MLP Afloat Forward Staging Base, to support a wide range of military operations. All three ships have been delivered to the U.S. Navy, and in October 2015, NASSCO began construction on ESB 4, USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams.
NASSCO is the largest shipyard on the west coast of the United States conducting design, construction and repair of ships. In the past decade, NASSCO delivered more than 30 ocean-going ships to government and commercial customers, including the world’s first LNG-powered containerships and several other lead ships.