The Navy accepted delivery of its 11th Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel, the future USNS Puerto Rico (T-EPF 11), from Austal USA Dec. 10.
Delivery marks the official transfer of the ship from the shipbuilder to the Navy. EPF 11 will be owned and operated by Military Sealift Command.
“We are excited to accept delivery of another versatile ship, further expanding the advantage of our civilian mariners at sea,” said Capt. Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “Delivery of our 11th ship is a testament to the inherent flexibility of the EPF class.”
EPFs are shallow-draft, all-aluminum, commercial-based catamarans that are capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo transport, which provide combatant commanders high-speed sealift mobility. EPFs enable rapid projection, agile maneuver and transport of personnel, equipment and supplies over operational distances with access to austere and degraded offload points.
As versatile, non-combatant vessels, EPFs provide increased operational flexibility for a wide range of activities including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations, and flexible logistics support. These vessels are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank. EPFs include a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations and airline-style seating for 312 embarked forces, with fixed berthing for 104.
Austal USA is also currently in production on the future USNS Newport (EPF 12) and USNS Apalachicola (EPF 13), and is under contract to build the future USNS Cody (EPF 14).
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.