USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE-1), the lead ship of her class of dry cargo ship, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The contract to build her was awarded to National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) of San Diego, California, on 18 October 2001 and her keel was laid down on 22 April 2004. She was launched 21 May 2005, co-sponsored by Jane Lewis Sale Henley and Lisa Clark, descendants of the ship's namesakes. She was delivered to the Navy on 20 June 2006.
The T-AKE is a new Combat Logistics Force (CLF) Underway Replenishment Naval vessel that will replace the current capability of the Kilauea-class
ammunition ship, Mars-class
combat stores ships, and when operating in concert with a Henry J. Kaiser-class
oiler, the T-AKE will replace the Sacramento-class
fast combat support ship. The T-AKE Program will consist of 11 ships with a budget of approximately $4 billion.
As an auxiliary support ship, the T-AKE will directly contribute to the ability of the Navy to maintain a forward presence. The T-AKE's primary mission will be delivering supplies to Navy ships from sources of supply like friendly ports, or from sea using specially equipped merchant ships. The T-AKE will transfer cargo — ammunition, food, limited quantities of fuel, repair parts, ship store items and expendable supplies — at sea to station ships and other naval warfare forces. In its secondary mission, the T-AKE may be required to operate in concert with a Henry J. Kaiser
-class (T-AO-187) oiler as a substitute on-station ship, providing direct logistic support to ships within a single carrier strike group.
The primary goal of the T-AKE program is to provide effective fleet underway replenishment capability at the lowest life cycle cost. To meet that goal, the ship is being built to commercial specifications and standards and will be certified/classed by the American Bureau of Shipping, the United States Coast Guard and other regulatory bodies. The ships will be operated by Military Sealift Command with civilian mariners crews (123 personnel) augmented by a military department (49 personnel).
This ship was featured in the History Channel's Modern Marvels episode on Copper.
The Navy awarded National Steel and Shipbuilding Company of San Diego, Calif., a $406.9 million competitive contract October 18
, to build the first ship of the class, USNS Lewis and Clark
. The Navy also exercised a $301.6 million dollar option in the contract for the construction of the second ship of the class, USNS Sacagawea
The U.S. Navy had previously fielded a ballistic missile submarine named (SSBN-644).
Based on data from the Naval Vessel Register
and Military Sealift Command