Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship

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USNS Lewis and Clark T-AKE-1.jpg
USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE-1)
Class overview
BuildersGeneral Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO)
Operators United States
In service2006–present
General characteristics
TypeDry cargo/Ammunition ship
Displacement45,149 tons
Length689 ft 0 in (210 m) overall
Beam106 ft 0 in (32.3 m)
Draft29.9 ft (9.12 m)
PropulsionIntegrated electric propulsion, with generation at 6.6 kV by FM/MAN B&W diesel generators; HV system, generators, motors and drives by GE Power Conversion, single fixed pitch propeller; bow thruster
Speed20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
  • 1,388,000 cubic feet (39,300 m3) of cargo
  • Fuel cargo: 23,450 barrels
  • 124 civilian mariners
  • 11 Naval personnel
Sensors and
processing systems
  • I/J-band surface search radar
  • I-band navigational radar
Electronic warfare
& decoys
AN/SLQ-25 Nixie torpedo countermeasures[1]
Aviation facilitiesTwo VREP/support helicopters

The Lewis and Clark class of dry cargo ship is a class of 14 underway replenishment vessels operated by the United States Navy's Military Sealift Command. The ships in the class are named after famous American explorers and pioneers.


Amelia Earhart conducting underway replenishment with USS Hopper (DDG-70), November 2009

Lewis and Clark-class ships replaced the existing fifteen Mars- and Sirius-class combat store ships and the Kilauea-class ammunition ships. When operating in concert with a Henry J. Kaiser-class replenishment oiler the Lewis and Clarks have replaced the Sacramento-class fast combat support ships.[2] The first of the fourteen ships, USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE-1), was placed in service with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) in June 2006. The ships were built to commercial rather than military standards. This was done to minimize costs and to demonstrate the ability to competitively build ships on the civilian market.[3] Though the ships are built to commercial standards they are equipped with various features to increase survivability in a hostile environment, including degaussing, shock hardening in certain equipment, emergency power and communication systems, and increased damage control capability in areas such as firefighting and stability.[4][5] The ships are equipped with passive defenses to protect against mines and torpedoes and have ABC (atomic, biological, and chemical) countermeasures; the ships also have space and weight reservations for additional self-defense armament.[6] The ships in the class are named after famous American explorers and pioneers. NASSCO was awarded a detailed design and construction contract in October 2001. The fourteenth ship of the class was delivered on 24 October 2012. As the class entered serial production, NASSCO has increased learning and production efficiencies to make substantial reductions in labor hours, from hull to hull. For example, T-AKE-7 was produced with fewer than 50 percent of the worker-hours it took to produce T-AKE-1, and had a 37 percent reduction in total construction time.


As part of Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force (NFAF), the ship's mission is to deliver ammunition, provisions, stores, spare parts, potable water and petroleum products to carrier battle groups and other naval forces, serving as a shuttle ship or station ship. T-AKE-1 and -2 were assigned to one of the two active Maritime Prepositioning Ship squadrons, which are permanently forward deployed to the Western Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. While identical in configuration to T-AKE-3 to -14, their mission is to provide selective offload of cargo for resupply and sustainment of U.S. Marine Corps forces ashore.[7] In their primary mission role, the T-AKEs provide logistic lift to deliver cargo (ammunition, food, limited quantities of fuel, repair parts and ship store items) to U.S. and allied ships at sea. In their secondary mission, the T-AKEs may be required to operate in concert with a Henry J. Kaiser-class (T-AO 187) fleet replenishment oiler as a substitute station ship to provide direct logistics support to the ships within a carrier strike group.


On 8 February 2008, dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Lewis and Clark, the first ship in Military Sealift Command's newest class of ships, returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, after its first deployment.

The ship successfully completed a six-month tour to the U.S. Central Command area of operations to resupply U.S. Navy ships, providing logistics support in the Persian Gulf, around the Horn of Africa, along the length of Somalia and beyond the equator.[8]

USNS Sacagawea (T-AKE-2) got underway for its first deployment 11 December 2008 in the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet area of operations.[9]

USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE-4) entered the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet area of operations 24 July 2008, marking the arrival of the first Lewis and Clark-class combat logistics support ship in service to the 52,000,000-square-mile (130,000,000 km2) region.[10]


Ship Hull. No. Launched In service Status NVR Page MSC Page
Lewis and Clark T-AKE-1 2005-05-21 2006-06-20 In service [1] [2]
Sacagawea T-AKE-2 2006-06-24 2007-02-27 In service [3] [4]
Alan Shepard T-AKE-3 2006-12-06 2007-06-26 In service [5] [6]
Richard E. Byrd T-AKE-4 2007-05-15 2008-01-08 In service [7] [8]
Robert E. Peary T-AKE-5 2007-10-27 2008-06-05 In service [9] [10]
Amelia Earhart T-AKE-6 2008-04-06 2008-10-30 In service [11] [12]
Carl Brashear T-AKE-7 2008-09-18 2009-03-04 In service [13] [14]
Wally Schirra T-AKE-8 2009-03-08 2009-09-01 In service [15] [16]
Matthew Perry T-AKE-9 2009-08-16 2010-02-24 In service [17] [18]
Charles Drew T-AKE-10 2010-02-27 2010-07-14 In service [19] [20]
Washington Chambers T-AKE-11 2010-09-11 2011-02-23 In service [21] [22]
William McLean T-AKE-12 2011-04-16 2011-09-29 In service [23] [24]
Medgar Evers T-AKE-13 2011-10-29 2012-04-24 In service [25] [26]
Cesar Chavez T-AKE-14 2012-05-05 2012-10-24 In service [27] [28]


  1. ^ "T-AKE Lewis & Clark Class of Auxiliary Dry Cargo Ships" (PDF). www.dote.osd.mil. US Navy. Retrieved 19 October 2017. T-AKE 4 successfully completed an acoustic trial off San Clemente Island and demonstrated that NIXIE was capable of masking the ships acoustic signature
  2. ^ U.S. Navy (24 January 2015). "Fact File: Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ships - T-AKE". fact file. United States Navy. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  3. ^ Defense Industry Daily staff (10 July 2013). "US Navy on the T-AKE As It Beefs Up Supply Ship Capacity". Article. defenseindustrydaily.com. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  4. ^ "T-AKE Lewis & Clark Class of Auxiliary Dry Cargo Ships" (PDF). www.dote.osd.mil. Retrieved 16 October 2017. Constructed to commercial standards (American Bureau of Shipping) with some additional features to increase its survivability in hostile environments such as the Advanced Degaussing System to reduce the ship’s magnetic signature against mines, shock resistance in selected equipment, and increased damage control measures in firefighting and stability
  5. ^ "T-AKE Lewis & Clark Class of Auxiliary Dry Cargo Ships" (PDF). www.dote.osd.mil. US Navy. Retrieved 19 October 2017. The Navy is incorporating some additional survivability features, such as emergency power and communications, which exceed the American Bureau of Shipping standards
  6. ^ "Lewis and Clark Class". www.forecastinternational.com. Retrieved 16 October 2017. Being manned by civilians, the ships have no active means of self-defense. They are provided with passive defenses against mines and torpedoes, and atomic, biological, and chemical (ABC) weapon countermeasures. However, they are designed with appropriate space and weight reservations "to allow future installations of self-defense systems as required."
  7. ^ naval-technology.com (n.d.). "Lewis and Clark Class T-AKE Dry Cargo and Ammunition Ship, United States of America". Article. naval-technology.com. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  8. ^ Bill Cook (March 2008). "USNS Lewis & Clark completes first deployment". Sealift. Military Sealift Command. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
  9. ^ Gillian Brigham (April 2008). "T-AKE 2 working hard during first deployment". Sealift. MCS. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
  10. ^ Rosemary Heiss (September 2008). "T-AKE begins logistics operations in 7th Fleet". Sealift. MCS. Retrieved 2009-08-17.

This article includes information collected from the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Web site navsea.mil and that of the contractor NASSCO.

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