Construction of the Robert F. Kennedy Fleet Oiler begins

Belgian navy Karel Doorman-class frigate Leopold I (F930), left, and Portuguese navy frigate NRP Francisco de Almeida (F334), right, carry out replenishment at sea with Henry J. Kaiser-class in USNS Patuxent (T-AO 201) refueling course, center. Construction of the USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208) has now started. US NAVY / Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cameron Stoner

SAN DIEGO – Construction on USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208) began at General Dynamics – National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD-NASSCO) shipyard, May 21, Navy Program Executive Office – The ships said in a statement.

The T-AO 208 will be operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command and is the first ship named after the Navy veteran, former United States Attorney General and United States Senator from New York.

“The USNS Robert F. Kennedy will make significant contributions to the fleet, serving as the primary fuel pipeline for refueling ships at sea. The construction of the John Lewis-class ships marks an important step in enhancing the capabilities of the fleet of our Navy and in providing critical support to our sailors, ”said John Lighthammer, Acting Program Manager for Support Vessels, Boats and Craft, Program Executive Office, Ships.

The ships are based on commercial design standards and will recapitalize current T-AO 187-class fleet refueling tankers to provide ongoing refueling to US Navy ships and aviation fuel for affected aircraft. to aircraft carriers. These ships are part of the Navy’s Combat Logistics Force and will become the backbone of the fuel delivery system.

GD-NASSCO is also currently in production on USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205) USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206). USNS Lucy Stone (T-AO 209) and USNS Sojourner Truth (T-AO 210) are under contract.

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