Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship

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US Navy 100831-N-4378P-036 USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1) is underway in the Arabian Sea.jpg
USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE-1)
Class overview
Builders: General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO)
Operators:  United States
Built: 2001 – 2012
In service: 2006 – present
Planned: 14
Completed: 14
Active: 14
Retired: 0
General characteristics
Type: Dry cargo/Ammunition ship
Displacement: 45,149 tons
Length: 689 ft 0 in (210 m) overall
Beam: 106 ft 0 in (32.3 m)
Draft: 29.9 ft (9.12 m)
Propulsion: Integrated electric propulsion, with generation at 6.6 kV by FM/MAN B&W diesel generators; single fixed pitch propeller; bow thruster
Speed: 20 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
Aviation facilities: Two VREP/Support helicopters

The Lewis and Clark class of dry cargo ship is a class of 14 Combat Logistics Force (CLF) 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.


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 oiler the Lewis and Clarks have replaced the Sacramento-class fast combat support ships.[1] 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.[2] 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 man-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-AKEs 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-AKEs 3–14, the mission of these ships in the class are to provide selective offload of cargo for resupply and sustainment of U.S. Marine Corps forces ashore.[3] 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, Va., 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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]


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. ^ U.S. Navy (24 January 2015). "Fact File: Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ships - T-AKE". fact file. United States Navy. Retrieved 2016-02-27. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ Bill Cook (March 2008). "USNS Lewis & Clark completes first deployment". Sealift. Military Sealift Command. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  5. ^ Gillian Brigham (April 2008). "T-AKE 2 working hard during first deployment". Sealift. MCS. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  6. ^ 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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