US Navy Christens New Fleet Replenishment Oiler

The US Navy has christened its latest fleet replenishment oiler vessel, the USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207), in San Diego, California.

The Earl Warren is the third ship of its class and will be deployed as part of the US Navy Military Sealift Command (MSC).

The vessel is named after the politician, civil rights leader, and 14th US Chief Justice from 1953 to 1969.

“How fitting that this ship, named for Chief Justice Earl Warren, is built here in California… dedicated to the importance of critical thinking and problem solving while cultivating ethically responsible citizen scholars,” MSC Commander Rear Adm. Michael Wettlaufer stated during the event.

“Very soon, USNS Earl Warren will be added to the MSC fleet. Like her namesake, our nation is fortunate to have Americans step forward from all walks of life to serve. Her Civil Service Mariner crew will operate this ship with the same skill, resolve, and courage displayed by Chief Justice Warren.”

The USNS Earl Warren

The Earl Warren can carry 162,000 barrels (26 million liters) of diesel fuel for ships and aircraft alongside dry stores cargo.

It is built with double hulls to prevent oil spills and equipped with self-defense capabilities such as degaussing, Nixie torpedo decoys, and crew-served weapons.

The 746-foot (227 meters) vessel can also be armed with close-in weapon systems, including anti-torpedo and naval rolling airframe missiles.

US Navy’s Future Replenishment Oiler Fleet

The ceremony builds on a $3.2-billion contract awarded to General Dynamics in 2016 to develop six ships that will gradually replace the existing Kaiser-class (T-AO 187) oilers.

USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205)
USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205). Photo: General Dynamics NASSCO

USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), the first of the new class, was delivered to the service in 2022 and is now in its post-delivery trials. T-AO 206 to 209 are still under construction at the General Dynamics NASSCO facility in San Diego.

Meanwhile, the navy plans to increase its John Lewis fleet by 20 ships, a statement from the US Department of Defense said.

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