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NASSCO AND THE U.S. NAVY CELEBRATE THE LAUNCHING OF THE FAST COMBAT SUPPORT SHIP 'U.S.S. ARCTIC'

 SAN DIEGO, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S.S. ARCTIC (AOE-8), the third of four fast combat support ships being built by National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO) for the U.S. Navy, was launched from NASSCO's ways into San Diego Bay today.
 The 754-foot supply ship was christened by Mary Johnston, the wife of U.S. Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-Louisiana), at 9:30 a.m. The traditional breaking of a champagne bottle over the bow signaled the start of the launch, and the 17,000-ton ship glided down the ways to the cheers of thousands of employees, U.S. Navy personnel and guests.
 Sen. Johnston was the keynote speaker at the event. He congratulated the Navy on the design of the ship and emphasized the need for a well-structured sea force, including fast supply ships and sealift ships, to meet the demands of a changing world order.
 Sen. Johnston is senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a member of its Defense and other Subcommittees.
 The launch included music by the Naval Training Center Band, a presentation of the colors by the Naval Dental Clinic Color Guard, a prayer by Chaplain A. Colton and remarks by NASSCO President Richard Vortmann and Rear Adm. John S. Claman, Deputy Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command.
 The U.S.S. ARCTIC is the fifth supply ship to carry the name of the region surrounding the North Pole. Other ARCTICs have served a various times between 1855 and 1946.
 After the ceremony, the AOE-8 was moved to NASSCO's pier, where the remainder of its construction will be completed. The ship is scheduled to be delivered in the first quarter of 1995.
 NASSCO is building three other AOE-6-Class supply ships, whose mission will be to receive ammunition, provisions and petroleum products from shuttle ships and distribute them to carrier battle groups while underway.
 The AOE-6, the U.S.S. SUPPLY, is virtually 100 percent complete and is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 1994. The AOE-7, the U.S.S. RAINIER, is 80 percent complete and is to be delivered in the third quarter of 1994. Construction on the AOE-10 began in September with delivery set for the third quarter of 1997.
 In addition to the AOEs, NASSCO has received a contract from the U.S. Navy to design and build up to six Strategic Sealift Ships, a contract with a potential value of $1.3 billion. The company also has been awarded a $635 million contract from the U.S. Navy to convert three L-Class containerships to Strategic Sealift Ships.
 The NASSCO shipyard currently employs 3,700.
 -0- 10/30/93
 /CONTACT: Fred Hallett, NASSCO, 619-544-7900/


CO: National Steel and Shipbuilding Co.; U.S. Navy ST: California IN: MAR SU:

JL-LM -- SD001 -- 8844 10/30/93 13:00 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 30, 1993
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