Austal USA has started the construction of U.S. Navy’s 13th Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel, the future USNS Apalachicola (T-EPF-13), on August 19.
The start of construction was marked by the first cut of metal event held at Austal’s facility in Mobile, Alabama.
Once commissioned, the future USNS Apalachicola (T-EPF-13) will be operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. She will be the second ship in naval service named after Apalachicola, Florida.
EPFs are versatile, non-combatant, transport ships that are being used for high-speed transportation of troops, military vehicles, and equipment. The vessels support a variety of missions including overseas contingency operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, support of special operations forces, theater security cooperation activities and emerging joint sea-basing concepts.
EPFs are capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. Each vessel includes a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations. The ships are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, as well as on/off-loading vehicles such as a fully combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank.