SAN DIEGO, April 18 (UPI) -- General Dynamics NASSCO has launched the U.S. Navy's newest supply ship, the 689-foot USNS William McLean, at its facility in California.
The ship is the 12th of a class of 14 dry cargo/ammunition ships slated to serve as Combat Logistics Force ships or be part of the Maritime Prepositioning Force.
"We at NASSCO are proud of the role the USNS William McLean will play in support of the U.S. Navy," said Fred Harris, president of NASSCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics.
"This ship joins a distinguished tradition of NASSCO-built or modified ships bound for service under the direction of the Navy's Military Sealift Command."
NASSCO began constructing the ship in 2009, the company said. Following its at-sea testing phase, the ship will be delivered to the Navy in the third quarter of 2011. When delivered to the Military Sealift Command, the ship will carry necessary supplies and equipment required to support U.S. Marine Corps operations anywhere in the world.
There are 16 Military Sealift Command prepositioning ships that have been specially configured to transport supplies for the Marines. Nearly half of the ships in the Maritime Prepositioning Force were built or modified at General Dynamics NASSCO since the mid-1980s and are forward-deployed to the western Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
The USNS William McLean is named after the U.S. Navy physicist who conceived and developed the heat-seeking Sidewinder missile.