Earlier this month in San Diego, General Dynamics NASSCO started building the future USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB 7), the fifth ship of the Navy’s reclassified Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) program.
Dennis DuBard, a long-time NASSCO employee and the Start of Construction honoree, initiated the first cut of steel used to build the vessel.
“Today, we start construction of the ship that honors the life and service of the ship’s namesake, Marine Corps Private First Class Robert E. Simanek,” NASSCO President Dave Carver said of the Korean war hero. “This ship represents the thousands of men and women who will spend roughly two million hours building this ship.”
ESB ships are flexible platforms designed to support multiple maritime-based missions, including Air Mine Counter Measures (AMCM), Special Operations Forces (SOF) and limited crisis response.
This 784-foot ship will act as a mobile sea base and be configured with a 52,000 square-foot flight deck to support MH-53, MH-60, MV-22 tilt-rotor, and H1 aircraft operations, according to NASSCO.
The fourth ship in the ESB program, the future USS John L. Canley (ESB 6), is scheduled to be launched in the summer of 2022. The first three ships in the program – USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) , and USSMiguel Keith (ESB 5) – have each been delivered.