SAN DIEGO – On May 21, General Dynamics NASSCO started construction of the future USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208), the fourth of six vessels for the U.S. Navy’s John Lewis-class fleet oiler program.
Francisco Medina, a long-time NASSCO employee and the Start of Construction honoree, initiated the first cut of steel that will be used to construct the vessel.
“Today, we celebrate a time-honored tradition that marks the beginning of production for the ship and to celebrate the life and service of the ship’s namesake Robert F. Kennedy,” said Dave Carver, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. “This ship represents the thousands of men and women who have worked hard to make this ship class a success.”
Designed to transfer fuel to U.S. Navy carrier strike group ships operating at sea, the 742-feet vessels have a full load displacement of 49,850 tons, with the capacity to carry 157,000 barrels of oil, a significant dry cargo capacity, aviation capability and up to a speed of 20 knots.
Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, representatives from NASSCO and the U.S. Navy gathered for a hybrid virtual and in-person ceremony. A short recap video with remarks will be released via the NASSCO website following the event.