The US Navy’s Military Sealift Command contracted
Detyens Shipyards $10.5 million for a 50-calendar day shipyard availability for the regular overhaul and dry docking of USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12). Detyens Shipyards operates a commercial shipyard on the East Coast of the US. It provides ship repair and conversion services. The USNS William McLean is a Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship. The Lewis and Clark class
of dry cargo ship is a class of 14 Combat Logistics Force underway replenishment vessels. Work under the contract includes clean and gas-free tanks, voids, cofferdams and spaces, main engine and electric motor maintenance, 10-year crane maintenance and recertification, dry-docking and undocking, propeller shaft and stern tube inspect, freshwater (closed loop) stern tube lubrication, underwater hull cleaning and painting, 2.5-year bow thruster maintenance and tunnel grating modification, renew flight deck nonskid, and auxiliary pre-stage area refrigeration installation. Work will take place in North Charleston, South Carolina, and is expected to be finished by July 16 this year.
Warships get a lot of attention, but without resupply, an impressive-looking fleet becomes a hollow force. The US Navy’s supply and support fleet has been aging, and needed new vessels. T-AKE is part of that effort, and the ships have also found themselves performing “naval diplomacy” roles.
The entire T-AKE dry cargo/ ammunition ship program could have a total value of as much as $6.2 billion, and a size of 14 ships, as the US looks to modernize its supply fleet. How do T-AKE ships fit into US naval operations? What ships do they replace? What’s the tie-in to US civilian industrial capacity? How were environmental standards built into their design? And what contracts have been issued for T-AKE ships to date?