The new T-AO(X) class will operate in the same primary rôle as T-AO 187 class fleet replenishment oilers in support of the US Navy force. Additionally, when combined with a T-AKE 1 class dry cargo & ammunition ship, the T-AO(X)/T-AKE 1 logistics team can replace a T-AOE 6 class combat support ship within a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) or Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG).
NAVSEA Awards Three Contracts for Oiler Development
Naval Sea Systems Command has issued three contracts to shipyards for work toward the Navy’s next-generation fleet oiler (T-AO(X)).
General Dynamics NASSCO, Huntington Ingalls Industries and VT Halter Marine, “were each awarded firm-fixed price contracts at or below the not-to-exceed amount of $1.7 million as contained in the solicitation for Trade-Off Industry Studies,” according to a Wednesday release from NAVSEA.
The companies will provide studies that will explore affordable design for the next-generation oilers. The six to ten month studies will inform system specifications ahead of the next contract award which will support detailed construction of T-AO(X).
The Navy is planning for a class of 17 ships to replace the current crop of Supply-class and Henry J Kaiser class oilers with the first ship to begin construction and enter the fleet in 2020.
Earlier this year, the Navy announced it would decommission Supply-class ships USNS Bridge (T-AOE-10) in 2014 and USNS Rainier (T-AOE-7) in 2015 for a $251 million savings as part of the Fiscal Year 2014 Pentagon budget submission.