Future USNS Brunswick completes Acceptance Trials

Written by Nick Blenkey
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When it was launched in May, future USNS Brunswick was still designated JHSV 6

The ship, which was constructed by shipbuilder Austal USA, is the sixth in the EPF class. The EPF class ships were formerly known as Joint High Speed Vessels, or JHSVs. In September, the Secretary of the Navy brought in a new E ship class designator that, in addition to seeing the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) become the Expeditionary Fast Transport, or EPF, sees the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) become the Expeditionary Transfer Dock, or ESD; and the Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) variant of the MLP become the Expeditionary Mobile Base, or ESB. 

"Conducting Acceptance Trials is a major milestone for the shipyard and the program office," said Capt. Henry Stevens, Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Manager, Program Executive Office, Ships. "We are very proud of our contractor and government team's commitment to delivering affordable, quality ships and look forward to the delivery of EPF 6 later this year." 

The ship's trials included dockside testing to clear the ship for sea and rigorous at-sea trials during which the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) evaluated and observed the performance of EPF 6's major systems.

Completion of Brunswick's Acceptance Trials signifies that the ship is ready for delivery to the fleet in the near future.

"We're proud to have successfully completed acceptance trials for USNS Brunswick, and excited to see the continued improvement ship to ship on this mature program," said Craig Perciavalle, Austal USA's president. "Austal's EPF team continues to do a tremendous job constructing incredible ships and preparing them to enter the fleet."

The Brunswick is the sixth ship in Austal's 10-ship $1.6 billion EPF block-buy contract awarded by the U.S. Navy in 2008. Three more under construction at Austal's Mobile, AL, shipyard.

EPFs are versatile, non-combatant, transport ships that will be used for fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles, and equipment. EPF is designed to commercial standards, with limited modifications for military use. The vessel is capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, and can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading vehicles such as a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank. Other joint requirements include an aviation flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations.

EPF 6 will have airline style seating for 312 embarked forces, with fixed berthing for 104.

The EPF's large, open mission deck and large habitability spaces provide the opportunity to conduct a wide range of missions.

"We're excited about the feedback we're receiving about how well these ships are doing on deployment and about the overall potential of the program," said Mr. Perciavalle.

In addition to the EPF program, Austal is also building 10 Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy under a $3.5 billion block-buy contract. Three LCS have been delivered while an additional six are in various stages of construction.When it was launched at Austal's Mobile, AL, shipyard in May EPF 6 was JHSV 6.

NOVEMBER 3, 2015 — Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) 6, the future USNS Brunswick completed Acceptance Trials Oct. 23, the Navy reports.

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