Avondale Christens First Of Five Fleet Oilers Building For Navy

christens oilers

The first in a series of five fleet oilers under construction for the U.S. Navy by Avondale Shipyards, a division of Avondale Industries, Inc., was christened USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO-187) in recent ceremonies at the yard near New Orleans.

Named for the late Henry J.

Kaiser, founder of Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation and one of America's leading industrialists of this century, the vessel is scheduled for delivery in September 1986.

Mrs. William Small, wife of Adm. William Small, USN(Ret.), former Vice Chief of Naval Operations, was the ship's sponsor. Principal speaker was Hon. Jennings Randolph, retired U.S. Senator from West Virginia. Other speakers included Commo. Harry K. Fiske, USN, assistant deputy commander, surface ships, Naval Sea Systems Command; U.S. Representative Lindy Boggs, (D-LA); and Adm.


The Kaiser and the other four vessels in this new class of fleet oilers are being constructed using state-of-the-art techniques for prefabricated modules. Large modular units are assembled and outfitted with piping, ventilation ducts, electrical wireways, and other equipment in various zones of the shipyard. Then they are moved to the building site and erected. Pre-packaged units of heavy machinery are also assembled ashore and then lifted aboard for installation. As a result of these techniques, the Kaiser was approximately 83 percent complete at launching.

The Kaiser has an overall length of 667 Vz feet, beam of 97 Vi feet, and maximum draft of 36 feet. She is powered by twin 10-cylinder, medium- speed Colt/Pielstick PC4.2 diesel engines, and will be capable of a service speed of 20 knots. The twin-screw design of the T-AO-187 class provides improved directional stability, ease of control, and mission reliability under combat conditions. The new ship has a cargo oil capacity of 183,500 barrels in 18 cargo tanks, and will be capable of simultaneously receiving, storing, and discharging two separate grades of cargo (JP-5 and DFM). All cargo pump and valve operations and the ship's segregated ballast system will be operated from the cargo control center located in the aft superstructure. This control center has an overview of the entire underway replenishment deck. Underway cargo transfer will be accomplished using transfer rigs with hoses suspended by a span wire that is automatically maintained in a constant-tension condition. The T-AO-187 class vessels are also capable of vertical replenishment from a helicopter facility aft of the accommodation house.

Avondale Shipyards division of Avondale Industries is a newly created corporation comprised of former subsidiaries of Ogden Corporation. The subsidiaries were purchased and transformed into a new corporation by employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. The sale was completed in September this year.

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