US Navy’s special ops support ship Miguel Keith (ESB 5) passes acceptance trials

The US Navy’s newest expeditionary sea base (ESB) ship, Miguel Keith (ESB 5), successfully completed Acceptance Trials on October 11, four months after it first took to sea.

NAVSEA photo of Miguel Keith (ESB 5) during first trials

The trials were conducted off the coast of southern California after departure from the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. shipyard in San Diego.

During the week of trials, the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey conducted comprehensive tests to demonstrate and evaluate the performance of all of the ship’s major systems.

ESBs are 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.

“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.

ESBs include a four spot flight deck and hangar and a mission deck. They are designed around four core capabilities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging support, and command and control assets.

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.