General Dynamics' National Steel and Shipbuilding Company has started the assembly of the U.S. Navy's fourth expeditionary sea base (ESB) vessel. Expeditionary sea bases function as mobile sea bases and are built to support various missions including special operations and aviation mine countermeasure activities, the Naval Sea Systems Command said Monday.
ESBs also feature workspaces, ordnance storage, lodging, operating spots for MH-53E helicopters and reconfigurable mission decks that can hold embarked force equipment. The vessels also house updated command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence capacities.
NASSCO received contracts to build ESBs 6 and 7, and the Navy may exercise an option for the assembly of ESB 8 and John Lewis-class replenishment oilers. The service branch commissioned all ESBs to operate as USS warships and conduct a broad range of operations.