May 23, 2000 -- SAN DIEGO, CA -- National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), has delivered the USNS CHARLTON (T-AKR 314) to the U.S. Navy. The CHARLTON is the fifth new construction ship built by NASSCO under the U.S. Navy's Strategic Sealift Program.

The CHARLTON was completed under target cost and delivered to the Navy five months ahead of schedule. The ship was demonstrated at sea under NASSCO's Single Integrated Trial concept, a process that helps reduce costs and cycle time and accelerate delivery. Continuing its impressive record of high quality performance on the strategic sealift ships, NASSCO delivered CHARLTON with zero discrepancies.

A total of eight new construction ships and three ship conversions have been awarded to NASSCO under the 20-ship Strategic Sealift Program. All ships are being named for U.S. Army Medal of Honor recipients. The CHARLTON is named after U.S. Army Sergeant Cornelius Charlton, a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Korea in 1952.

The sealift new construction ships are large, medium-speed, roll-on, roll-off ships (LMSRs). The ships are assigned to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, and carry prepositioned U.S. Army tanks, armored personnel carriers, tractor-trailers, and other equipment and supplies to potential areas of conflict around the world. The ships also provide surge sealift support of remote military actions. Their multi-use capabilities make these cargo ships among the most flexible ever built.

NASSCO is the only West Coast shipyard capable of building and repairing large, ocean-going vessels. The shipyard employs approximately 3,000 at its San Diego facilities. More information on NASSCO can be obtained from the company's Web site at

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.