USNS Lewis and Clark

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USNS Lewis and Clark in the Atlantic Ocean, December 2006
United States
NameUSNS Lewis and Clark
NamesakeMeriwether Lewis and William Clark
Ordered18 October 2001
BuilderNational Steel and Shipbuilding
Laid down23 March 2004
Launched21 May 2005
In service20 June 2006
Statusin active service
General characteristics
Class and typeLewis and Clark-class cargo ship
Displacement41,000 tons (41,700 t)
Length689 ft (210 m)
Beam105.6 ft (32.2 m)
Draft29.9 ft (9.1 m)
PropulsionIntegrated propulsion and ship service electrical system, with generation at 6.6 kV by FM/MAN B&W diesel generators; one fixed pitch propeller; bow thruster
Speed20 knots (37 km/h)
  • 14,000 nautical miles at 20 knots
  • (26,000 km at 37 km/h)
  • Max dry cargo weight:
  •   5,910 long tons (6,005 t)
  • Max dry cargo volume:
  •   783,000 cubic feet (22,000 m3)
  • Max cargo fuel weight:
  •   2,350 long tons (2,390 t)
  • Cargo fuel volume:
  •   18,000 barrels (2,900 m3)
  •   (DFM: 10,500) (JP5:7,500)
Complement13 military, 123 civilian
Aircraft carriedtwo helicopters

USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE-1) is an American dry cargo ship, the lead ship of her namesake class. It was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The contract to build her was awarded to National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) of San Diego, California, on 18 October 2001 and her keel was laid down on 22 April 2004. She was launched on 21 May 2005, co-sponsored by Jane Lewis Sale Henley and Lisa Clark, descendants of the ship's namesakes. She was delivered to the Navy on 20 June 2006.


USNS Lewis and Clark at Souda Bay, Crete, Greece, 24 July 2007

The T-AKE is a replenishment naval vessel operated by Military Sealift Command with civilian mariner crews (53 personnel) augmented by a military department (5 personnel). In 2012, Lewis and Clark became one of 14 ships that comprise the United States Marine Corps (USMC) Maritime Prepositioning Program (MPP).

Replenishment ships help allow the Marine Corps maintain a forward presence. Her primary mission is the delivery of supplies to enable the arrival and assembly of a Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB). The T-AKE transfers cargo – ammunition, food, fuel, repair parts, ship store items and expendable supplies to Marine and joint forces ashore.

The Navy awarded National Steel and Shipbuilding Company of San Diego, Calif., a $406.9 million competitive contract 18 October 2001, to build the first ship of the class, USNS Lewis and Clark. The Navy also exercised a $301.6 million option in the contract for the construction of the second ship of the class, USNS Sacagawea.

The U.S. Navy had previously fielded a ballistic missile submarine named USS Lewis and Clark (SSBN-644).


USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1) underway in the Arabian Sea.

In February 2009, the ship was deployed off the coast of Somalia as part of Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa. The vessel was fitted out to be used as a prison ship for captured pirates.

[1][2][3][4] On 20 November 2010, the Lewis and Clark responded to a distress call by the Chinese-flagged cargo ship M/V Tai An Kou which was under attack by Somalian pirates. Upon sighting the US naval vessel, the pirates opened fire and the Lewis and Clark returned fire in a brief engagement that drove the pirates off without causing any casualties. The destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill then also arrived on the scene 10 hours later and launched a helicopter to provide additional assistance until the PLAN frigate Xuzhou arrived.[5]


  1. ^ Pessin, Al (12 February 2009). "US Navy Captures More Pirates, May Take Them to Kenya". VOA News. Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  2. ^ "Navy ship outruns pirates, officials say". CNN World. 7 May 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  3. ^ Cawthorne, Andrew (7 May 2009). "Somali pirates take Dutch boat, chase US supply ship". Archived from the original on 9 May 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  4. ^ "USNS Lewis and Clark Prevents Suspected Piracy Attack". Navy News. United States Navy. 7 May 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  5. ^ "Combined Maritime Forces Responds To Suspected Pirate Attack". Defense Visual Information Distribution Service. 20 November 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2019.

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