Construction started on the sixth Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB), the future USNS Hector A Cafferata Jr (ESB 8) at General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD NASSCO) on 8 August 2023.
ESBs are designed to be flexible and used in a range of military operations supporting multiple operational phases, similar to the Expeditionary Transfer Dock class. Acting as a mobile sea base, they are part of the critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to provide prepositioned equipment and sustainment with flexible distribution.
“The ESB has demonstrated that it has the flexibility and capability the fleet needs,” said Tim Roberts, Strategic and Theatre Sealift programme manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “These ships will support a range of missions, focusing on core capabilities including aviation facilities, berthing, special operations, equipment staging support, and command and control operations.”
GD NASSCO is also currently building the future USNS Robert E Simanek (ESB 7) as well as John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oilers USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207), Robert F Kennedy (T-AO 208), Lucy Stone (T-209) and Sojourner Truth (T-AO 210) with Thurgood Marshall (T-AO 211), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (T-ASO 212) and T-AO 213 under contract.