General Dynamics Christens US Navy’s Fifth Expeditionary Sea Base Vessel

General Dynamics has christened the US Navy’s fifth expeditionary sea base ship USNS Robert E. Simanek (ESB 7) in San Diego, California.

The vessel was named after a US Marine Corps Private First Class awarded the Medal of Honor for protecting fellow soldiers from a grenade during the Korean War.

American President Dwight D. Eisenhower presented the award to him in 1953.

“This ship represents the embodiment of American unity and purpose; a beacon of freedom and hope that will carry Robert Simanek’s legacy to people all over the world,” General Dynamics NASSCO President David Carver commented during the christening ceremony.

“On behalf of the eight thousand employees of General Dynamics NASSCO, I am proud to present the Robert E. Simanek for christening to our sponsor, Ms. Ann Simanek.”

General Dynamics signed the contract to build the ESB 8 alongside two John Lewis-class oiler ships in 2022.

US Navy’s ESB Program

The ESB program was launched to develop more vessels for various missions, including Aviation Mine Countermeasures and Special Operations Force activities.

Each sea base ship measures 785 feet (239 meters) and has a beam of 164 feet (50 meters).

They can sail at over 15 knots (28 kilometers/17 miles per hour) with a range of approximately 9,500 nautical miles (17,600 kilometers/10,900 miles).

220726-A-EQ028-1350 GULF OF ADEN (July 26, 2022) Expeditionary sea bases USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) and USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) sail together in the Gulf of Aden, July 26. Lewis B. Puller is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to help ensure maritime security and stability in the Middle East region. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Frederick Poirier)
Lead Expeditionary Sea Base ship USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) and USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4). Photo: Spc. Frederick Poirier/US Army

The vessels can accommodate up to 250 personnel and incorporate a 52,000-square-foot (4,830-square-meter) flight deck to carry H-1 Hueys, CH-53 Sea Stallions, and SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters, as well as MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

The US Navy procured six vessels for the ESB program, including two in a separate Mobile Landing Platform configuration.

Currently, the agency operates four ESBs.

Recent Progress

General Dynamics laid the keel of the US Navy’s sixth ESB platform, the USNS Hector A. Cafferata Jr. (ESB 8), last month.

In February, the service commissioned the USS John L. Canley (ESB 6) at Naval Station North Island, California.

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