Navy Orders Two More Navajo-Class Towing, Salvage, Rescue Ships

Gulf Island Shipyard held a keel laying ceremony on Oct. 30, 2019 for the future USNS Navajo (T-ATS 6), the lead ship of the Navy’s new class of towing, salvage and rescue vessels. U.S. NAVY

ARLINGTON, Virginia — The Navy has ordered two more Navajo-class T-ATS towing, salvage and rescue ships, the Defense Department said in a March 25 contract notice.   

The Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded Gulf Island Shipyards LLC in Houma, Louisiana, a $129.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification “to exercise options for the construction of two additional towing, salvage and rescue ships (T-ATS) and for the performance of unique item identification on the T-ATS 6-class program.  

“The contract also includes options for associated support efforts related to the ship design and construction for special studies, engineering and industrial services, provisioned items orders, unique item identification and data rights license,” the notice said. “Work is expected to be complete by October 2022.”   

The Navajo-class T-ATS is designed to combine and replace the current capabilities of the three Powhatan (T-ATF 166) class of fleet ocean tugs and two Safeguard (T-ARS 50) class rescue and salvage ships, which will reach the end of their expected service lives starting in 2020.  

The Navajo-class is designed with 6,000 square feet of deck space for embarked salvage and rescue systems. The ship will have an overall length of 263 feet and a beam of 59 feet. It will be able to carry a 1,796-ton load.  

Gulf Island Shipyard is currently building the first three T-ATSs: the future USNS Navajo (T-ATS6), USNS Cherokee Nation (T-ATS 7) and USNS Saginaw Ojibwe Anishinabek (T-ATS 8). These three ships are scheduled for delivery in 2021.