EPF 12 completes integrated trials

Written by Nick Blenkey
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EPF 12 on integrated trials. Nexy vesssel in series could be autonomous [Photo: Austal USA]

Austal USA and the Navy’s Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) program successfully completed integrated trials on the future USNS Newport (EPF 12), in the Gulf of Mexico. The ship is now ready to be delivered to the Navy.

Integrated trials combine builder’s and acceptance trials, allowing for the shipyard to demonstrate to the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey the operational capability and mission readiness of all the ship’s systems during a single underway period. During trials, the shipbuilder 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, says the Navy.

“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, at the Navy’s 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.”

“I can’t begin to express how proud I am of the success of our team and this ship,” said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle. “The ability to overcome the challenges presented to conduct something as complicated as vessel sea trials in these unprecedented times proves the value of hard work and dedication.”

Newport is slated for delivery to the U.S. Navy later this summer and is the twelfth ship in Austal USA’s current 14-ship portfolio.

“We’re proud of the contributions these ships are making to maritime operations around the world,” said Perciavalle. “From serving as a mother ship to test drones in the Atlantic to providing humanitarian assistance and participating in global military training exercises enhancing the lifestyle and naval capabilities of third world nations, the EPF fleet is proving to be a great asset to our future 355-ship Navy.”

Austal USA has delivered eleven EPFs and has two more under construction, including EPF 12, at the Mobile, Ala. facility. The 338-ft Spearhead-class EPF is currently providing high-speed, high-payload transport capability to fleet and combatant commanders. The EPF’s large, open mission deck and large habitability spaces provide the opportunity to conduct a wide range of missions from engagement and humanitarian assistance or disaster relief to the possibility of supporting a range of future missions, including special operations support, command and control, and medical support operations.

With its ability to access austere and degraded ports with minimal external assistance, the EPF provides unique options to fleet and combatant commanders.

In addition to the EPF program, Austal has also received contracts for 19 Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy. Twelve LCS have been delivered with an additional five ships in various stages of construction.

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