Austal USA has delivered the 10th Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship, the future USNS Burlington (EPF 10) to the U.S. Navy.
This is the tenth ship delivered as part of a US$1.9 billion contract for 12 vessels and the fourth ship Austal has delivered to the Navy in 2018.
“Austal takes great pride in sending another EPF to join the Military Sealift Command (MSC) fleet. The success of this milestone achievement is a result of the dedication and hard work of the Austal team” Austal CEO, David Singleton said.
“Burlington will provide tremendous flexibility to combatant commanders in the fleet,” said Capt. Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “EPF 10 will enhance our forward presence and provide a variety of capabilities to U.S. operations around the globe.”
The EPF program provides the Navy with a high-speed intra-theater transport capability. The 103 metre (338-foot long) Burlington is an aluminium catamaran capable of transporting 600 tons, 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, and is designed to operate in austere ports and waterways, too shallow and narrow for the larger ships in the surface fleet, providing added flexibility to U.S. war fighters worldwide.
USNS Burlington will be owned and operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) and will support a variety of missions including overseas contingency operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), special operations forces (SOF), and supporting emerging joint sea-basing concepts. EPFs are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) discharge facilities, as well as on/off-loading vehicles such as a fully combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank.
Each EPF vessel includes a flight deck to support day and night launch and recovery operations for a wide variety of manned and unmanned aircraft, including a CH-53 Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopters.. Burlington will have airline-style seating for 312 embarked forces with fixed berthing for 104.
The EPF program delivered its ninth ship, USNS City of Bismarck (T-EPF 9) late last year. Upon delivery of USNS Burlington, two additional Spearhead-class EPFs are under construction at Austal’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard. The future USNS Puerto Rico (EPF 11) launched this week and will now prepare for sea trials and the future USNS Newport (EPF 12) is being erected in final assembly.
The company was awarded a contract in October 2018 for long lead time material to support construction of EPF 13 which is planned to commence fabrication in late 2019.
In addition to the EPF program, Austal is also under contract to build Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy. Nine LCS have been delivered, while an additional six are in various stages of construction.