USNS Robert F. Kennedy launched and christened

General Dynamics NASSCO has christened and launched the future USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208), the fourth ship for the U.S. Navy’s John Lewis-class fleet oiler program.


As is tradition, the ship’s sponsor and daughter of the namesake, the Honorable Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend, christened the ship by breaking a champagne bottle alongside the hull.

“As did its namesake, this vessel represents courage and strength. The shipbuilders of NASSCO are proud to have ensured the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy will live on in this ship,” said David Carver, president of General Dynamics NASSCO.

“On behalf of the 48-hundred employees of General Dynamics NASSCO, I am proud to present the USNS Robert F. Kennedy for christening to our sponsor the Honorable Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend.”


General Dynamics NASSCO was awarded a contract to design and build the first nine ships of the next generation of fleet oilers, the John Lewis-class (T-AO 205).

Designed to transfer fuel to U.S. Navy carrier strike group ships operating at sea, the 742-feet vessels have a full load displacement of 49,850 tons, with the capacity to carry 157,000 barrels of oil, a significant dry cargo capacity, aviation capability, and can sail at a speed of up to 20 knots.

The first two ships in the class, the USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205) and the USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206) have been delivered to the Navy. The future USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207), the future USNS Lucy Stone (T-AO 209), and the future USNS Sojourner Truth (T-AO 210) are currently under construction.