US Navy christens towing and salvage ship Cherokee Nation

Christening ceremony of the US Navy Navajo-class towing, rescue and salvage ship USNS Cherokee Nation, June 8, 2024
Photo: Bollinger Shipyards

The US Navy christened its newest Navajo-class towing, salvage, and rescue ship (T-ATS) in a ceremony in Houma, Louisiana, on Saturday, June 8.

The future USNS Cherokee Nation is the second Navajo-class vessel. Construction is being undertaken by Bollinger Shipyards, which is also building another four vessels in the class.

The Navajo-class T-ATS will provide ocean-going tug, salvage, and rescue capabilities to support fleet operations. It will replace and fulfill the capabilities that were previously provided by the US Navy’s Powhatan-class fleet ocean tug (T-ATF 166) and Safeguard-class rescue and salvage Ships (T-ARS 50) class ships.

As with its sisters, the future Cherokee Nation will be built as a multi-mission platform that will be deployed to support a range of missions such as towing, rescue, salvage, humanitarian assistance, oil spill response, and wide-area search and surveillance operations using unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The T-ATS will be operated by the Military Sealift Command.


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