NASSCO Awarded $22 Million for Second Phase of Ship Conversion Contract for the U.S. Marine Corps

NASSCO Awarded $22 Million for Second Phase of Ship Conversion Contract for the U.S. Marine Corps May 8, 2000 -- SAN DIEGO, CA -- National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), a General Dynamics company (NYSE: GD), today announced that it has received a contract valued at up to $22 million to complete the second phase of a program to convert a U.S. Navy Strategic Sealift Program ship to meet the enhanced readiness capabilities of the U.S. Marine Corps' Maritime Prepositioning Force.

Phase I included development of design, material specifications and planning for Phase II. Phase II includes the actual conversion work, which will begin immediately. The ship to be converted, the USNS Soderman (T-AKR 299), will arrive at NASSCO on Monday, May 8, and work is to be completed by March 1, 2001.

The conversion includes adding living quarters for 50 Marines, changing the stern ramp to an in-water ramp, and upgrading the helicopter landing platform to an all-weather flight deck, among other changes.

The Soderman was originally converted by NASSCO from a commercial containership to a large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off (LMSR) vessel and delivered to the Navy in November 1997. A $230-million contract for construction of a new LMSR, T-AKR 317, to replace the Soderman in the Navy's combat prepositioning fleet was awarded to NASSCO in February.

"The planning and design work completed in Phase I was a successful, integrated product team effort among the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Military Sealift Command, the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, San Diego, and NASSCO," said Richard Vortmann, President of NASSCO. "We are confident the conversion process will go well and provide the Marine Corps with an excellent ship for its enhanced Maritime Prepositioning Force."

The Soderman will carry containerized U.S. Marine Corps cargo as well as vehicles, including armored personnel carriers, tanks, tractor-trailers and high-mobility military vehicles, and will be strategically deployed to areas of potential conflict.

The Soderman is named for Army Private First Class William A. Soderman, a World War II recipient of the Medal of Honor.

NASSCO (, a General Dynamics Company, is the only West Coast shipyard capable of building and repairing large ocean-going vessels for the Navy and commercial customers. The shipyard employs approximately 3,100 people.

General Dynamics ( of Falls Church, Virginia has leading market positions in shipbuilding and marine systems, land and amphibious combat systems, information systems, and business aviation. The corporation employs approximately 44,000 people and has annualized sales of approximately $10 billion.