These 40,000 ton, 689 foot long ships replace Vietnam war era dry cargo,
ammunition and oiler supply ships. Built to civilian ship standards, they
enable American shipyards to retain a non-warship building capability. The
T-AKEs carry a crew of 124, nearly all civilians. The T-AKE can carry
everything a warship at sea would need (food, including frozen stuff, spare
parts, munitions, petroleum products and all manner of goods). The T-AKEs can
cover over 800 kilometers a day, and spend most of their time chasing after
U.S. warships, delivering needed supplies. Each T-AKE can carry 2,400 tons of
fuels, and has 1.1 million cubic feet of hold space for dry cargo (including
ammunition). The fourth T-AKE will enter service this month, with the twelfth
ship of the class being available in 2010. The navy will still have oilers
(tankers) for supplying most of the petroleum needed. But the ability to carry
some petroleum products simply makes the T-AKE more flexible, and useful.
The U.S. Navy has ordered the 9th of 12 T-AKE replenishment ships.