The U.S. Navy christened its newest Expeditionary Fast Transport, the future USNS Burlington (T-EPF 10), during a 10 a.m. CST ceremony Saturday, Feb. 24, at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.
The future USNS Burlington, designated T-EPF 10, will be the first ship in naval service to honor Burlington, Vermont’s largest city. The first Navy ship Burlington (PF-51) was named for Burlington, Iowa, and served during World War II.
The principal speaker was U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont. Mrs. Marcelle Pomerleau Leahy, Senator Leahy’s wife of 55 years, served as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
“This ship honors Burlington, Vermont, a city that embodies American values and its patriotic, hardworking citizens for their support and contributions to our Navy,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Burlington, like the other ships in the EPF program, will provide our commanders high-speed sealift mobility and agility. I am thankful for this ship and her crew who will serve our nation for decades to come and I am thankful for our industrial force teammates whose service makes this great ship possible.”
With an all-aluminum shallow-draft hull, the EPF is a commercial-based catamaran capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo lift providing combatant commanders high-speed sealift mobility with inherent cargo handling capability and agility to achieve positional advantage over operational distances.
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 is capable of operating in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams main battle tank (M1A2).
The EPF includes a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that will allow vehicles to quickly drive off the ship. EPF’s shallow draft (under 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.
The EPF program delivered its ninth ship late last year, USNS City of Bismarck (T-EPF 9). Puerto Rico (EPF 11) and Newport (EPF 12) are currently under construction at Austal’s shipyard.