The U.S. Navy’s 10th Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel, the future USNS Burlington (EPF 10), was launched at Austal USA’s shipyard, March 1.
The launching of an EPF is a multi-step process at Austal. The ship is constructed in a modular manufacturing facility and is translated to a docking barge and then transported to a dry dock where it can then be submerged into the water and launched. All of this takes place over the course of two days.
“Ship launches are milestone events in any shipbuilding program, but today’s launch is particularly significant as it is the tenth EPF launch in less than seven years,” said Capt. Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office Ships. “This noteworthy milestone for the EPF program is a testament to the hard work of the Navy and Austal’s shipbuilding team.”
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.
The EPF program delivered its ninth ship, USNS City of Bismarck (EPF 9), in December 2017 and Burlington was christened last week by the ship’s sponsor, Marcelle Leahy, wife of U.S. Sen. Leahy from Vermont. The shipbuilder is also in production on Puerto Rico (EPF 11) and Newport (EPF 12).
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.