Expeditionary sea base USNS Miguel Keith completes acceptance trials

Oct. 16 (UPI) — The Expeditionary Sea Base ship, USNS Miguel Keith, successfully completed its acceptance trials off the California coast, the U.S. Navy announced.

The vessel left the General Dynamics shipyard in San Diego last week, completing its week-long trials on Oct. 11, the Navy said on Tuesday.

While not officially named yet, ESB 5 will be named for U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith, who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam.

The USNS Miguel Keith is the third ESB variant of the Montford Point-class of Maritime Prepositioning Force vessels to be built, and is scheduled for delivery in early fiscal year 2020.

Originally referred to as “mobile landing platform afloat forward staging bases,” ESB vessels serve as a mobile sea base, able to accommodate landings of small planes and helicopters, as well as equipment and personnel staging, command and control activities and humanitarian missions.

They are part of the critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to provide prepositioned equipment and sustainment with flexible distribution, the Navy said.

The vessel’s design is based on the civilian Alaska-class crude oil carrier, which was also designed by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co.

“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,” Capt. Scot Searles, Strategic Sealift and Theater Sealift program manager, said in a press release.

“These sea trials demonstrated the high quality of this ship and its readiness to join the fight,” Searles said of the Miguel Keith.

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