Rendering of a John Lewis class oiler. Courtesy NASSCO
Rendering of a John Lewis class oiler in San Diego Bay. Courtesy NASSCO

General Dynamics NASSCO was awarded a $3 billion contract Thursday to build six next-generation fleet oilers for the Navy.

The John Lewis-class ships are designed to transfer fuel to Navy surface ships operating at sea. The oilers will have the capacity to carry 156,000 barrels of oil, including the Navy’s new bio fuels.

The lead ship in the class is named for civil rights leader John Lewis, who is now a Congressman from Georgia.

“We are pleased to be building the next generation of oilers,” said Fred Harris, president of both NASSCO and Bath Iron Works in Maine. “With this award, we will now proceed with engineering and design work.”

Currently, the shipyard in Barrio Logan is under contract to construct its fourth Expeditionary Sea Base for the Navy, the USNS Hershel Williams, and is procuring long-lead time material for a fifth ship in the program. These ships are designed to support Marine Corps missions.

The new contract for six oilers ensures that the shipyard, the largest on the West Coast, will continue to operate at a high level of production.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.