WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy officially accepted USNS Charles Drew (T-AKE 10) July 14 during a ceremony at the General Dynamics-NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.
Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby, commander, Military Sealift Command (MSC), was on hand to sign for the ship.
Charles Drew, the 10th Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo/ ammunition ship, completed acceptance trials June 18.
During the at-sea trials, the ship successfully demonstrated a variety of systems including main propulsion, engineering, ship control systems and crew support.
"This ship has benefitted tremendously from a mature, stable design and a constant eye toward affordability in the construction process," said Frank McCarthey, the auxiliary ships, small boats and craft program manager for the Navy's Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships.
The ship recognizes the late Dr. Charles R. Drew, who lived from 1904 to 1950, was a physician and medical researcher whose pioneering work in the late 1930s and early 1940s led to the discovery that blood could be separated into plasma.
NASSCO is currently under contract for the construction of the Lewis and Clark class. A total of 14 T-AKEs will be procured, all of which are under contract. The program, managed by PEO Ships, has now delivered 10 ships of the class to the Navy's MSC, who will operate and maintain all 14 ships for their designated 40-year service life.
As a combat logistics force ship, Charles Drew will help the Navy maintain a worldwide forward presence by delivering ammunition, food, fuel and other dry cargo to U.S. and allied ships at sea. The ship is designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea and can carry and support two helicopters to conduct vertical replenishment. The class is providing effective fleet underway replenishment capability at a low life cycle cost compared to the auxiliary ships they are replacing.
Built to commercial standards, T-AKEs take advantage of industry best practices and can be cost-effectively maintained using commercial, off-the-shelf technology. T-AKEs have built-in environmental protections such as industry-leading "green" waste-management facilities that decrease pollutants by 90 percent.
As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all major surface combatants, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships and special warfare craft. Currently, the majority of shipbuilding programs managed by PEO Ships are benefiting from serial production efficiencies, which are critical to delivering ships on cost and schedule.
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