Naval Warfare

US Navy to Christen Future Expeditionary Fast Transport USNS Apalachicola (EPF-13)


US Navy to Christen Future Expeditionary Fast Transport USNS Apalachicola (EPF-13)

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Austal USA christened Expeditionary Fast Transport USNS Apalachicola (EPF-13) during a ceremony at its state-of-the-art ship manufacturing facility. Austal has delivered twelve EPFs since December 2012. USNS Apalachicola is slated for delivery this summer. The Honorable Kelly Loeffler, ship sponsor of USNS Apalachicola, performed the ceremonial bottle break over the bow of the ship, the 13th EPF designed and constructed by Austal USA and the second U.S. Navy ship to be named after the Florida coast city. The first Navy ship named Apalachicola (YTB-767), A Natick-class large harbor tug, was also built in Mobile at Mobile Ship Repair in 1963.

EPFs have performed humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, maritime security, surveillance, command and control, counter narcotics, and additional operations in almost every region of the world. A unique characteristic of EPF 13 is that Austal USA has been contracted to design, procure, implement, and demonstrate EPF 13 as an autonomous platform, allowing EPF 13 to operate autonomously while retaining the capability for manned operation, reducing cost and centralizing ship operations to the bridge. Apalachicola (EPF 13) is one of two Expeditionary Fast Transport ships Austal USA is currently building for the U.S. Navy, while the start of construction on the future USNS Point Loma (EPF 15) will commence at the end of this month.

US Navy to Christen Future Expeditionary Fast Transport USNS Apalachicola (EPF-13)
U.S. Navy to Christen Future Expeditionary Fast Transport USNS Apalachicola (EPF-13)

“Today we celebrate the christening of the 13th EPF with an Austal team of more than 3,000 employees,” expressed Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh. “Apalachicola’s sister ships are successfully supporting naval commands on the US East and West Coasts, along with forward deployments in the Middle East, Africa, Mediterranean, South America, and Asia regions. In the coming months, this highly complex, high-speed ship will join the others to support our great Navy.”

EPF class ships are designed to transport 600 short tons of military cargo 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. The ship can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and on/off-loading the Abrams main battle tank (M1A2). The EPF includes a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that will allow vehicles to drive off the ship quickly. EPF’s shallow draft (less than 15 feet) further enhances littoral operations and port access. This makes the EPF an extremely flexible asset for support of a wide range of operations, including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport.

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