US Navy christens new Navajo-class T-ATS

The U.S. Navy has christened its latest Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue ship (T-ATS) USNS Cherokee Nation at Bollinger Shipyards in Houma, Louisiana.

Bollinger Shipyards

As informed, the ceremony took place on June 10, 2024. The second Bollinger-built ship of the navy’s Navajo class, the USNS Cherokee Nation is named to honor the Cherokee people.

The Navajo class is operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command and provides ocean-going tug, salvage, and rescue capabilities to support fleet operations.

T-ATS replaces and fulfills the capabilities previously provided by the Powhatan-class fleet ocean tug (T-ATF) and Safeguard-class rescue and salvage ships (T-ARS) class ships.

“Bollinger is honored to celebrate the christening of the newest T-ATS ship alongside the U.S. Navy and the Cherokee Nation,” said Ben Bordelon, President and CEO of Bollinger Shipyards. 

“The USNS Cherokee Nation and other Navajo-class vessels are multi-purpose powerhouse vessels,” said Vice Admiral Scott Gray, Commander, U.S. Navy Installations Command.

“The new Navajo-class ships will help ensure our sailors and marines receive critical, timely support to stay in the fight around the globe and the US Navy stands ready to respond quickly if disaster strikes.”

The USNS Cherokee Nation is the second of ten planned Navajo-class T-ATS. The contract includes a total of five vessels to be built at Bollinger Houma Shipyards, each to be named in honor of a federally recognized Native American tribe.

Navajo-class ships will be capable of towing U.S. Navy ships, including aircraft carriers, and will have 6,000 square feet of deck space for embarked systems.

In addition to the USNS Cherokee Nation (T-ATS 7), Bollinger is also constructing USNS Navajo (T-ATS 6), USNS Saginaw Ojibwe Anishinabek (T-ATS 8), USNS Lenni Lenape (T-ATS 9) and USNS Muscogee Creek Nation (T-ATS 10).