Navy’s New Tug and Salvage Vessel –Navajo Class

Designated as T-ATS(X) by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), the new class of vessels will be based on existing commercial towing offshore vessel designs . Gulf Island Shipyards rendering

Workboat reports on the Navy’s new towing and salvage ship. It is a brute capable of towing a nuclear powered carrier. The price is certainly right, $63.5M for a 263 foot vessel. It is on the slow side, but it might find some use in support of Coast Guard Law Enforcement operations.

“The 262.8’x59.06’x24.61′ vessel designated T-ATS, to be built at Gulf Island Shipyards, Houma, La., under a $63.5 million contract, will be based on an existing commercial offshore towing design, to replace the Navy’s current T-ATF and T-ARS 50 ships serving under the U.S. Military Sealift Command.

“The design by Gulf Island and Wärtsilä will have its main propulsion come from twin Wartsila 8L32 diesel engines, each producing 6,217 hp at 750 rpm. A pair of Wärtsilä 3700 mm (145″), controllable pitch, 4-bladed props and Wärtsilä marine gears will give the vessel a running speed of 13 knots.”

One of these might make a decent support vessel for Webber Class WPCs and Cyclone Class PCs operating in the drug transit zones.

13 thoughts on “Navy’s New Tug and Salvage Vessel –Navajo Class

    • I suppose it could tend buoys but our they are completing service life extension on our large buoy tenders so they will not need to be replaced any time some.

      The Coast Guard had Fleet Tugs in the past and still has a converted submarine rescue vessel, the USCGC Alex Haley. But they were all capable of at least 16 knots.

      I am suggesting SouthCom might be able to use one or two of these to act as supporting vessels for deployed patrol craft. They would still be MSC, but could provide food, water, and fuel, and might have containerized machine ships, repair facilities and maybe washing machines and dryers, since that seems to be a limitation on patrol boat endurance.

      • I’m thinking, what about the future fleet, such as what about the Icebreaker tugs and buoy tenders. I’m think we can use something like this for places that don’t have cutters say American Samoa

      • SOUTHCOM needs a support ship with fuel tankage and replenishment capability and has the newly chartered MSSV.
        Not much room for cargo stowage in this design.

    • There are plenty of other designs of OSV/PSV type ships to chose from. The T-ATS has specific sub salvage and heavy towing capabilities which the USCG may not want. And at $63 million for the lead ship using an existing design, I would say this is another over-priced ship procurement by NAVSEA.
      The COCOMs are going to latch on to these probably

      • Does the price shown include the specialized sub-salvage equipment, or perhaps include changes to the design to meet those mission requirements/specialized equipment? Also, are they being upgraded to naval construction standard rather than commercial? Those things could explain higher costs…

  1. Nicky having talked to 4th Fleet and listened to SOUTHCOM testimony, there main logistics rqmt is FUEL. The T-AKEs are all spoken for.

  2. Bill, MSC ships are not built to NVR standards. They conform to ABS rules for Naval Ships and MSC T-Ship standards. Higher costs are probably due to mission specific rqmts and the manner the ship are being procured. The higher cost could have been avoided IF the Navy had just chartered a similar ship about 3 years ago, when used OSV prices were much lower.

  3. Chuck MSC ships of the types bieing replace T-ATF and T-ARS have been operating for a long time with dets coming onboard for specific missions to include NATO sub salv. MDSU dets have been on those types numerous times (the Navy website doesn’t always mention the host ship)

    • Just sounded like less of the submarine rescue equipment was going to be aboard so that means flying in the equipment to marry up with the ship. Sounded like it might delay the rescue.

      • Yes the NATO sub rescue system is fly-in as is the MDSU det equipment. Those are on deck systems. Fuel has to be in tanks piped to RAS gear. Provisions probably in reefer vans need electical capacity and deck fittings

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