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Future USNS John Lewis oiler launched by General Dynamics NASSCO

General Dynamics NASSCO launched the future USNS John Lewis oiler this week. Photo courtesy General Dynamics NASSCO
General Dynamics NASSCO launched the future USNS John Lewis oiler this week. Photo courtesy General Dynamics NASSCO

Jan. 14 (UPI) -- General Dynamics NASSCO launched the future USNS John Lewis oiler this week.

The 742-foot-long vessel is designed to carry fuel to U.S. Navy carrier strike group ships operating at sea, with the capacity to carry 157,000 barrels of oil, in addition to significant dry cargo capacity, according to General Dynamics.

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"NASSCO is immensely honored to be a part of this historic day launching the future John Lewis," Dave Carver, president of General Dynamics NASSCO, said in a press release.

"This ship reaffirms our Nation's stability and represents the same strength, values and honor that her namesake, the Honorable John Lewis, stood for," Carver said.

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Construction of the oiler began in the fall of 2018 and keel was laid attended at a ceremony attended by the ship's namesake, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who died last year.

It will be the first of six vessels in the Navy's John Lewis-class fleet oiler program. They will be operated by the Navy's Military Sealift Command.

"John Lewis will be a steadfast and reliable ship and we have tremendous momentum behind the program right now. We're looking forward to delivering this enhanced capability to the fleet," said Mike Kosar, acting executive director of the Navy's amphibious, auxiliary and sealift office, said in a press release.

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The second in class, the USNS Harvey Milk, began construction in August, and third in the class, USNS Earl Warren, began construction in December.

The others in the class will be christened after the late senator and attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, 19th-century abolitionist and suffragist Lucy Stone and abolitionist and women's rights activist Sojourner Truth.

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