The U.S. Navy’s twelfth Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel, USNS Newport (EPF 12), successfully competed Integrated Sea Trials, on July 30.
Integrated Trials combine Builder’s and Acceptance Trials, allowing for the shipyard to demonstrate to the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) the operational capability and mission readiness of all the ship’s systems during a single underway period.
During trials, the shipbuilder Austal conducted comprehensive tests to demonstrate the performance of all of the ship’s major systems. The USNS Newport is the second Spearhead-class EPF ship to undergo the Integrated Trial, signifying the stability and maturity of the shipbuilding program.
The trials are last significant milestone before delivery of the vessel, scheduled for August 2020.
“Achieving this milestone is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the shipbuilding team and our partners in industry,” said Tim Roberts, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office, Ships. “We are eager to press forward with delivering USNS Newport to the fleet this year and to enhance the operational flexibility available to our combatant commanders.”
Austal Chief Executive Officer David Singleton said the successful completion of acceptance trials for EPF 12 was yet another important milestone for a program that has seen 11 vessels delivered to the US Navy in less than 8 years.
“Austal’s EPF high-speed catamaran is a true success story, proving to be an invaluable addition to the US Navy’s sealift capability worldwide,” Mr Singleton said. “Newport will soon join a fleet of 11 EPF vessels that are making a real difference to communities around the world, through a variety of missions and exercises conducted by US Military Sealift Command for the US Navy.”
The Spearhead-class EPF is a 103 metre high-speed aluminium catamaran with a large, 1800 square metre cargo deck, medium-lift helicopter deck and seating for 300+ embarked troops, providing a fast, high-payload transport capability to combatant commanders around the world.
EPFs are designed to operate in shallow waterways and are capable of a wide range of activities. The vessels are versatile, non-combatant, transport ships that are being used for high-speed transportation of troops, military vehicles, and equipment. Their missions’ include 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.
One additional Spearhead-class EPF is under construction at Austal USA’s shipyard; the future USNS Apalachicola (EPF 13) while the future USNS Cody (EPF 14) is scheduled to commence construction in August 2020.