Austal Limited is pleased to announce that Austal USA has been awarded a US$235 million (approximately A$295 million) undefinitised contract by the United States Navy (USN) for the detailed design and construction of the 15th Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel. Austal USA has delivered twelve EPFs to the US Navy since 2012, on schedule and under budget, from the company’s Mobile, Alabama, shipyard. The Spearhead-class EPF is a 103-metre high-speed aluminium catamaran with a large, 1800 square metre cargo deck, medium-lift helicopter deck and seating for 300+ embarked troops; providing a fast, high-payload transport capability to combatant commanders around the world. The Austal-designed and built EPFs support a wide range of missions – from maritime security operations to humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the new contract was a clear demonstration of confidence by the US Navy in the versatile EPF platform, designed by Austal Australia and manufactured by Austal USA. “The EPF has become a real success story, delivering a fast, flexible and versatile capability to the US Navy. The EPF has made a real difference to military operations and other humanitarian and disaster relief missions over many years now, and this additional vessel contract reflects the continuing confidence in the unique high-speed platform. Austal USA is understandably proud of its record of success with the EPF, which has been deployed and operated by US Military Sealift Command (USMSC) for the US Navy, in theatres around the world.” Mr Gregg said.
An Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF)’s flexibility also allows it to support potential future missions; such as special operations, command and control, and primary medical operations. One Spearhead-class EPF, the future USNS Apalachicola (EPF 13), is currently under construction at Austal USA’s shipyard, while the future USNS Cody (EPF 14) is scheduled to commence construction in the second half of FY2021. In addition to the EPF program, Austal USA is contracted to deliver 19 Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy. Thirteen Independence-class LCS’ have been delivered, with an additional five ships in various stages of construction and one contracted but yet to commence construction.
The Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport (EPF) is a United States Navy–led shipbuilding program to provide “a platform intended to support users in the Department of the Navy and Department of the Army. The Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) program is a cooperative effort for a high-speed, shallow draft vessel intended for rapid intratheater transport of medium-sized cargo payloads. The EPF will reach speeds of 35–45 knots (65–83 km/h; 40–52 mph) and will allow for the rapid transit and deployment of conventional or special forces as well as equipment and supplies.” The vessels are a part of Military Sealift Command’s Sealift Program. The class was previously designated as “Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV)”, but was redesignated in September 2015.