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Keel laid for USNS Charles Drew

SAN DIEGO, March 18 (UPI) -- General Dynamics marked another advance Tuesday in its work on the U.S. Navy's T-AKE program by laying the keel for USNS Charles Drew.

U.S. company General Dynamics said its National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. subsidiary laid the keel for the USNS Charles Drew, named in honor of the African-American physician who pioneered blood storage in the blood transfusion research field.

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The USNS Charles Drew is the 10th ship in the Navy's T-AKE program for the new Lewis and Clark class of dry cargo-ammunition ships and is "scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in the third quarter of 2010," the release said.

The laying of the USNS Charles Drew's keel marks a continuation of progress for NASSCO on the construction of the Navy's T-AKE ships. The company has delivered seven of the T-AKE ships and is scheduled to build five more of the vessels.

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