General Dynamics to build two more Navy cargo ships

SAN DIEGO, 11 January 2005. National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, announced today that the U.S. Navy has exercised options to build two additional ships under the T-AKE program, a new class of combat logistics force ships.

SAN DIEGO, 11 January 2005. National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, announced today that the U.S. Navy has exercised options to build two additional ships under the T-AKE program, a new class of combat logistics force ships.

The $586 million contract brings the total number of ships awarded to NASSCO to eight, and the total contract value to $2.5 billion. The T-AKE contract includes options for an additional four ships.

Construction on the first T-AKE, the USNS Lewis and Clark, began in September 2003. Delivery is scheduled for 2005. The second T-AKE, to be named the USNS Sacagawea, is now in full-rate production for delivery in 2006.

The T-AKE is a dry cargo/ammunition ship that will be operated by the Military Sealift Command, providing logistic lift from sources of supply either in port or at sea. The ships will transfer cargo -- ammunition, food, fuel, repair parts, and expendable supplies and material -- to station ships and other naval forces at sea. The T-AKE will substantially upgrade the Navy's ability to maintain its forward-deployed forces, replacing aging T-AE ammunition ships and T-AFS combat stores ships that are nearing the end of their service lives.

The T-AKEs will be 210 meters (689 feet) in length and 32.2 meters (105.6 feet) in beam, with a design draft of 9.12 meters (29.9 feet). The ships will carry almost 7,000 metric tons of dry cargo and ammunition and 23,500 barrels of marine diesel fuel. The T-AKEs will be the first modern Navy ships to combine proven international marine technologies such as an integrated electric-drive propulsion system with commercial design features that will minimize their cost of operation and maintenance over their expected 40-year life.

Richard Vortmann, president of NASSCO, said, "Given the demands on U.S. forces globally, Congress continues to respond to the Navy's request to fund additional ships for the T-AKE program, the first new Navy combat logistics force ship design in almost 20 years. NASSCO has been hiring and training hundreds of employees for its workforce to meet the needs of our T-AKE and commercial contracts, raising our local employment to over 4,000. These two additional ships will provide sustained employment for 1,200-1,500 skilled NASSCO employees through 2008."

"This contract is a huge win for shipbuilding in San Diego," said Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, (R-CA). "I am proud that we were able to secure this funding. This award will sustain thousands of jobs in San Diego throughout this decade and will ensure cost-effective work for the Navy."

"NASSCO has a long-standing reputation for delivering ships ahead of schedule and under the estimated cost. This award will continue to maintain a healthy industrial shipbuilding base," Cunningham said.

Exercise of this option expands NASSCO's backlog to 11 ships, the largest in the company's history. In addition to the eight T-AKEs, the company is building three double-hull oil tankers for BP Shipping Company of Alaska.

"A record backlog affirms NASSCO's position as the leading U.S. builder of commercial ships and as a U.S. Navy 'Center of Excellence' for designing and building auxiliary and support ships," Vortmann added.

General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Va., employs approximately 71,600 people worldwide and anticipates 2004 revenue in excess of $19 billion. The company is a market leader in mission-critical information systems and technologies; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and business aviation. For more information, see www.generaldynamics.com or www.nassco.com.

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