Report to Congress on John Lewis-class Oiler Program

July 13, 2018 10:47 AM

The following is the July 3, 2018 Congressional Research Service report, Navy John Lewis (TAO-205) Class Oiler Shipbuilding Program: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the report:

The John Lewis (TAO-205) class oiler shipbuilding program, previously known as the TAO(X) program, is a program to build a new class of 20 fleet oilers for the Navy. The primary role of Navy fleet oilers is to transfer fuel to Navy surface ships that are operating at sea, so as to extend the operating endurance of these surface ships and their embarked aircraft. The first ship in the TAO-205 program was funded in FY2016. The second was funded in FY2018.

The Navy’s proposed FY2019 budget requests the procurement of the third and fourth ships in the program. The Navy estimates the combined procurement cost of the two ships at $1,052.2 million, or an average of $526.1 million each. The two ships have received $75.1 million in prior-year advance procurement (AP) funding, and the Navy’s proposed FY2019 budget requests the remaining $977.1 million in procurement funding needed to complete the two ships’ estimated combined procurement cost. The Navy’s proposed FY2019 budget also requests $75.0 million in AP funding for TAO-205s to be procured in future fiscal years, and $15.4 million in cost-tocomplete procurement funding to cover cost growth on TAO-205s procured in prior fiscal years, bringing the total FY2019 procurement funding request for the TAO-205 program (aside from outfitting and postdelivery costs) to $1,067.6 million.

The Navy was granted authority for using a block buy contract for procuring the first six TAO205s by Section 127 of the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1356/P.L. 114-92 of November 25, 2015). On June 30, 2016, the Navy awarded a fixed-price incentive block buy contract for the first six TAO-205s to General Dynamics’ National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD/NASSCO) of San Diego, CA.

Issues for Congress for FY2019 regarding the TAO-205 program include the following:

  • whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy’s FY2019 procurement funding request for the program;
  • the number of oilers the Navy will require in coming years to support its operations; and
  • whether to encourage or direct the Navy to build TAO-205s with more ship self-defense equipment than currently planned by the Navy


Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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