Home » Budget Industry » NASSCO Starts Work on Fifth Expeditionary Sea Base


NASSCO Starts Work on Fifth Expeditionary Sea Base

USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3). NASSCO photo.

USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3). NASSCO photo.

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.

  • Marcd30319

    Why is it that T-ESB-4 is always referred to as the Hershel “Woody” William? I have never seen any other ship named after a person to include their nickname. After all, T-ESB-3 called Lewis B. Puller and not the Chesty Puller? I think the Navy needs to get this squared away. Even Wikipedia is confused by this nonsense.

  • old guy

    When is the Navy going to acknowledge that a shore assault is very unlikely, in the future, but amphibious landing craft will be the mode? The T-ESB should accommodate continuous loading of LCACs and the like, by , either through or side ramps. C’mon SEA05 look out at the real world.

  • Ed L

    I am in strong belief that the ESB’s should be gunned/missile up and be USS not USNS. With the ability of cheap, wire guided weapons and light weigh shoulder fire Anti-tank weapons. These platforms are at risk from a threat that many so called experts refer to as a low threat. I agree with (old guy) on a shore assault being very unlikely. Having spent 12 years on Amphib’s with quite a few of them as a coxswain in assault craft showed me that without complete control of the landing area. A force as small as 30 trained soldiers with unguided, sniper rifles, machines guns, AA missiles and wire guided Anti-tank missiles could raise havoc with the landing force.

  • Secundius

    Minimal Armament at Present Time consists of 12 M2 “Ma Deuce” .50-caliber (12.7×99) Heavy Machine Guns. Plus “Whatever” the Ship is Fitted Out for, for ~250 to 298-Marines…

  • John B. Morgen

    Not much armament or no armament at all. Is the Navy still building warships or not?

    • Secundius

      “Hidden Meaning”? Dry Displacement without “Ro-Ro” Auxiliaries is 78,000-tons. But Wet Displacement with “Ro-Ro” Auxiliaries is ~90,000-tons. So “What” are the “Ro-Ro” Auxiliaries…

      • John B. Morgen

        Refer to the above statement.

        • Secundius

          It basically performs the SAME Function as the WW2 Casa Grande class Dock Landing Ships with carried Up To 14 LCM’s into a Combat Zone. With the Exception of the LCAC’s or L-CAT-30’s (6 to 12 Auxiliary Vessels) being Pre-loaded. Breadth of Ship being ~164-feet

          • John B. Morgen

            The Navy was better off building a new LPD class; instead, building this very odd ship.

          • Secundius

            They could also be used a Ambassador Mk. III Missile Boat “Ro-Ro” Transporters. Though the Length of Ambassador III exceeds the Breadth of the John Lewis’s by 80-inches or ~3-feet 4-inch “Overhang” on each side. But SIX Ambassador III’s would be a Welcome Addition to ANY Battle Group and/or Trouble “Hotspot” in the Assigned Station Area…

          • John B. Morgen

            A three feet overhang is not really an issue, I guess all of us have wait and see how these new transport is going to function at sea.
            .

          • Secundius

            The T-ESB-3, USS Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller is and/or was scheduled to Relieve the AFSB(I)-15, USS Ponce off the Yemenese Coast in Late 2016 or Early 2017. Which should make thing Interesting, considering the Ponce was Fired Upon by Yemenese Rebels (by Missile). Whether LaWS Laser played any part of Missiles Demise, is Unknown. And the “Puller” is Virtually Unarmed, with the Exception of the Equipment that SHE’s Carrying…

          • John B. Morgen

            The Navy should not have sent or stationed an unarmed vessel. My standard would required all warships and support ships be armed—at all times. What happen to the USS Ponce should be a wake-up call in how the Navy conducts naval operations in the said region.

          • Secundius

            You have to “Read Between the Lines”? The Flight Deck is capable of handling FOUR Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion’s @ 75,000-pound Gross Weight each. There are SIX “Berthing Bay” with Preloaded “LCAC’s” or “L-CAT-30’s”. Flight Deck is capable of Supporting “Whatever” Weapons System is Loaded on “Berthed Transporters”. Possibly a Land Based “Patriot”, “THAAD”, “Centurion C-RAM”, NEMO Containerized 120mm Auto Mortars, M777 155mm Howitzers, etc [Whatever]. She’s a [WIP] Combination Support/Supply/
            Prepositioned/Command Ship…

          • John B. Morgen

            During the early-1960’s the Navy/DOD came out with such a ship, but it many times larger, and it had a very large dock well for LCTs or LCMs to pick-up or unload cargo from afar from shore; plus, it had a flight deck and hangar. This type of ship also had a very large cargo holds forward from the superstructure. The ship conception was before the LHA or LHP warships were ever conceived on the drawing boards.

          • Secundius

            Are you referring to the HA(L)-3 (Helicopter Attack squadron (Light)-3) Ships used in 1967, in Riverine Patrols…

          • John B. Morgen

            No. What I was referring to the proposed fast deployment logistics ships or (FDL). These FDLs were 855 feet overall, 104 feet at the beam and 28 feet draft; plus, had a tonnage of 40,500 tons full load. Each FDL could carry 11,100 tons of cargo. The DON requested the first FDL be included in the Fiscal Year 1968 as part of the shipbuilding program. Each FDL would have costs $187,000,000 for 15 ships, but the requested number was cut back to 12 ships. However, Congress cancelled the project.

          • Secundius

            Actually they didn’t? They (the US Navy) just Revised the class Ship Design to 1972. And called it the “Algol” class T-AKR SL-7 Type Fast Support Ship, of which 8 were built and were over 950-feet long. Also the “Bob Hope” class T-AKR-300 of 1993 of which 7 were built.

            Before the “Algol’s” were the Haskell class Attack Transports of 1944, which were capable of carrying (23) 11-meter LCVP’s and (2) 15 or 17-meter LCM’s. The most famous of which, was the USS Fond-du-Lac or APA-166. I believe there was even a Movie made about her made in the 1960’s. But I forgot who the Lead Actor was…

          • John B. Morgen

            The main real difference between the FDLs and the Algol, Bob Hope classes is the dock well. The two latter ships were not designed with dock wells but with ramp gates. Therefore, the FDLs are more versatile than the two ramp designed ships. The Navy should build FDLs, besides building the two said classes.
            As for Haskell class (APA), those ships were modified Victory class cargo ships.

          • Secundius

            A I recall, Both of the Latter are “Ro-Ro” Ships. And Funding of the “FDL” was “Redirected” in 1966 for the Air Force C-5A Galaxy Program instead…

          • John B. Morgen

            The battle between the Air Force and Navy, which the C-5A transport aircraft did had some merits. Nevertheless, the Navy should have at least built at least two FDLs.

          • Secundius

            I suspect the Pentagon was looking for a “Heavy Hauler” that could be built Fast and in Large Numbers. And the C-5A Galaxy “Fit the Bill”…

          • John B. Morgen

            Unfortunately the C-5s could only carry one M-1 Abrams panzer per a flight. The DOD should have found a replacement for the M-551 light panzer when the C-5Bs were being built under the President Reagan Administration’s military build-up.

          • Secundius

            There “Really” wasn’t anything with the M551 Sheridan Airborne Reconnaissance Tank. With the Exception of the M81 152mm Gun/Launcher. Which was to Perform “Double-Duty” as a Demolition-Siege Gun and Ant-Tank Missile Launcher. One of those “Fubar/Snafu US Army KISS” Projects. Would have be better Tank if they mounted a 90mm Cockrill Mk.III Low Pressure Gun w/90x600mmR rounds, sames as those used on the M1A1 AA/AT Gun…

          • John B. Morgen

            The M1A1 AA/AT gun was worthless against German armor; the Army was much better off of copying the German 88 mm AA/AT gun, which many were captured during the war.

          • Secundius

            I recall at “the Battle of Remagen”, a Lone T26E3 “Pershing” tank have a Gun Duel with a German Battery of 88mm AAA on top of the Hill overlooking the “Ludendorff Bridge” spanning the Remagen River. From a Range of better than a Mile and Winning the Battle. But the Cockrill Mk.III, ISN’T a Copy of the M1A1 AA/AT Gun. The Cockrill Mk.III, can Chamber the SAME Ammunition used by the M1A1 AA/AT Gun…

          • John B. Morgen

            Going up against a German 88mm gun is not the same going up against a Tiger or a Panther. A gun battery does not have much in the way of armor.

          • Secundius

            But a Typical WW2 German 88 Flak Battery consisted of SIX 88x571mmR AAA’s with a Sustained rate of fire of ~15rpm each. Against ONE T26E3 at the Same rate of fire. Also the T26E3 was in “Plain Sight” while the 88 Flak Battery was on a Hill overlooking the Ludendorff Bridge…

          • John B. Morgen

            During the time period the Germans were quite desperate of holding the defensive lines, thus, resulted in rash but quick training program of new German troops. Therefore, I suspect the Germans who manned those 88mm guns were [NOT] adequately trained to manned their battery because under normal conditions a German 88mm battery would have picked any enemy panzer with ease. This American Pershing panzer and its crew was just lucky due the circumstances of the time period.

          • Secundius

            At least 14 Germans “Deserted” their Posts on the 88mm Flak Battery “overlooking” the bridge during the Night. Before the American Assault on the Bridge, though the German’s “Lacked” Anti-Armor Projectiles. Because they WEREN’T expecting an Armor Assault. They were equipped with Armor-Piercing, Capped Ballistic Cap Projectiles. That could STILL Penetrate 3.58-inches of “RHA” Armor at ~1,600-meters. Only the Turret of the T26E3 Tank could Stop the Round, being ~4-inches thick. But the Chassis of the Tank was from ~1.96-inches to 2.95-inches thick…

          • John B. Morgen

            There you’d go, the German High Command made errors in judgement, and the desertions proves my point. Is there a book publication for this source, so I can look it up for my study? My library is somewhat lacking in this area; although, I do have a monograph about the Pershing panzers, but it does not say anything about this event. It mentions about a Panther being destroyed, but it also states two or three Pershings were destroyed by German panzers.

          • Secundius

            If your “Monogram” Model to the M26 had a Muzzle Break on the Gun Tube. It probable WASN’T the type of Pershing’s used in the Battle of Remagen. The T26E3 had a 53-Caliber Gun Tube, while the T26E4 mounted a 71-Caliber Gun Tube and Muzzle Break

          • John B. Morgen

            I was not referring to a model kit, but a monograph (booklet) about Pershing panzers. Yes I do have a model kit of the M-26, and it does have a muzzle break gun tube. The model is the Korean War version.

          • Secundius

            Probably an M26E2 “Super Pershing” with 71-caliber barrel. After Korean War, was “Redesignated” as the M46. Approximately 320 T26E3’s were sent to Europe in 1945, of those ONLY 20 saw Action. Five of those fought a the “Battle of Remagen. Of those, one was assigned to the Headquarters Troop. Other Four fought in the Battle along with 15 “Box Sherman’s” or also called “Easy Eight’s”. There was also a Reconnaissance Element of Both M8 Armored Cars and M3 Halftracks. Not sure whether any “White’s” were used or not…

          • John B. Morgen

            The T26E2 (M45) was armed with a 105mm howitzer, but only 185 were built. The M46 was an upgraded M26E2, but with an improved engine and 90mm gun. The M46 Pershings were deployed in Korea during the war.

          • Secundius

            So were “Easy Eight’s”! Sorry about that. Little more than an SPG mounted in a 360(deg) Turret.

            Side Note: Rolls-Royce was awarded the Eastern Shipbuilding Group’s USCG Offshore Patrol Cutter. MTU Diesels is owned by Rolls-Royce, which interned is owned by BAe…

          • John B. Morgen

            So we are going to buy British diesel engines, instead of buying American made diesel engines. I would think that German diesel engines would be most prudent because Germany is the world leader for building diesel engines.

          • Secundius

            Original Design was for German made MAN Diesels. Detroit Diesels is also owned by BAe and Several Other US Manufactured Diesel Manufacturers…

          • John B. Morgen

            So you’re saying that most of the diesels manufacturing companies are European own?

          • Secundius

            I wouldn’t say all? Catepiller, Freightliner, Gale Banks, and Navistar are STILL “All” American, the last time I Looked. Cummins Diesel is owned by Volkswagen (?)…

          • John B. Morgen

            Foreign companies should not own American companies, and the same for American companies about owning foreign companies. Companies should stay within their respected homelands, but be allow to establish factories overseas or from afar. “let’s keep the companies within the family.”

          • Secundius

            True, but with More and More Companies trying the Grab a Piece of the National Defense Pie. They soon realize that their getting over their heads, one what they themselves can actually do. To the point that their no longer Solvent. And that when “Giants” like BAe step in and Buy them up. Even most of the Automotive Transmission Companies like “Allison” are owned by BAe. Its only a matter of time before Giants like BAe are bought up by Even Bigger Giants. And I can’t think of that Many that “Aren’t” State Owned and Operated…

          • John B. Morgen

            I’m more concern about protecting national security interests when a foreign company purchases an American defense contractor, whether or not state secrets are safe. I remembered a documentary film about defense contractors, and it had a Middle Eastern Arab being shown British hardware in action. mainly a Chieftain MBT at firing range. This individual was treated with kid-gloves because he own a major amount of stock shares of this British company.

          • Secundius

            Sorry I can’t Answer you Question? The “USNI News” Fo-Police are “Redacting” my Comment…

          • Secundius

            Movie was called “Away All Boats” in 1956 by Jeff Chandler…

          • John B. Morgen

            A good naval war movie…..

          • old guy

            At what cost?

          • John B. Morgen

            Do you mean loss of cargo?

          • old guy

            No, I was actually referring to Specs I read that, in my opinion, make this an expensive whale with little flexibility and questionable utility.

          • John B. Morgen

            Alright.

          • old guy

            As usual you’ve hit the nail on the head. It is a WW2 requirement ship, mostly unsuitable for hovercraft and Dock relay work. I wrote a paper 10 years ago, for COMNAVSEA, on the changing requirements of “Ship-to-Shore.” I wonder if anyone has read it.

          • Secundius

            I have my “Inspirational Moments”, coming Later and Later with each passing year…

  • John B. Morgen

    These ESDs are really nothing more than depots or repair ships. However, I’m somewhat surprised that these ESDs were not designed with well-dry docks. Yet, the Navy was much better off of building a floating platform than building a ship hulled depot/tender. There’s something wrong about these ESDs and the mission statement. I don’t want to get into the program budget that funded these [White Elephants]. There I said it, I disapproved….

  • Secundius

    FYI: According to “Thai Military and Asian Region” website, BOTH the PRC and Russian Federation air Planning a Double-Team Play to Control the Airspace of Taiwan. By placing Chinese 40H6E’s (SA-21’s) and Russian S-400’s Missile Batteries on BOTH the Diaoyu and Senkaku Islands…