According to the press release of the U.S. Navy, the newest expeditionary sea base (ESB) ship, Miguel Keith (ESB 5), successfully completed Acceptance Trials on October 11.
During the week of trials, conducted off the coast of southern California after departure from the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. shipyard in San Diego, the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey conducted comprehensive tests to demonstrate and evaluate the performance of all of the ship’s major systems.
“Our ESBs are bringing tremendous operational capability to our combatant commanders. These ships are supporting a wide variety of mission sets in the 5th and 6th Fleet and more recently have demonstrated their ability to integrate mine countermeasure mission packages,” said Capt. Scot Searles, Strategic Sealift and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office Ships. “These sea trials demonstrated the high quality of this ship and its readiness to join the fight.”
ESBs are highly flexible, modular platforms that are optimized to support a variety of maritime based missions including Special Operations Force and Airborne Mine Counter Measures support operations in addition to humanitarian support and sustainment of traditional military missions.
ESBs include a four spot flight deck and hangar and a versatile mission deck and are designed around four core capabilities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging support, and command and control assets. ESBs will operate as the component commander requires providing the U.S. Navy fleet with a critical access infrastructure that supports the flexible deployment of forces and supplies.
Miguel Keith is the third platform of the ESB variant, and is scheduled to deliver in early fiscal 2020. GD-NASSCO is also under contract for detail design and construction of ESB 6 and 7, with an option for ESB 8.
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and boats and craft.