Vestdavit to provide davits for US Navy’s John Lewis-class oilers

Davit provider Vestdavit has been awarded a major contract to supply davits for six US Navy’s oilers being built by General Dynamics NASSCO.


The contract covers delivery of a total of 12 high-specification PLRH-5000 davits to be installed on the John Lewis-class of T-AO oilers ordered by the US Navy at the shipbuilder’s San Diego shipyard, with two on each ship from T-AO 208 through T-AO 213 in the newbuild series.

The PLRH-5000 single-point davits will be used to handle the US Navy’s seven-metre RHIBs (Rigid-Hull Inflatable Boats) and incorporate a range of motion compensation and safety features that allow them to function effectively also in challenging conditions with high sea states, he says.

These include shock absorbers for removing peak loads, constant tension for safe and efficient recovery in rough weather, and guiding arms that act as an anti-pendulation device to keep the RHIB steady.

The skid-mounted davit is delivered as a fully self-contained unit for ease of installation onboard ships, with a requirement only for welding in place, filling with hydraulic oil and connection to power supply.

As well as naval applications, the DNV-classed davit type with lifting capacity up to 15,000kg is typically used on offshore patrol vessels, fishery protection and law enforcement vessels, and search and rescue vessels.

he US Navy has so far ordered a total of nine of the new class of T-AO oilers with a total contract value of $5.5 billion, of which the first was delivered last year, as part of an ongoing newbuild construction programme in which as many as 20 such vessels are planned.

The 745-foot-long oilers, which will be operated by Military Sealift Command (MSC), are designed to transfer fuel to US Navy carrier strike groups operating at sea, with the capacity to carry 162,000 barrels of oil, a significant dry cargo capacity, aviation capability and a speed of up to 20 knots.

These ships are dependent on high availability and efficient operation of boat handling systems for deployment of fast craft such as rescue boats in variable sea states to facilitate safe and reliable refuelling operations, according to Magnus Oding, General Manager of the Norwegian davit supplier’s US subsidiary Vestdavit Inc.