The USN has awarded Austal USA a $235 million (€197.3 million) contract for detailed design and construction of the 15th Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF), parent company Austal Ltd announced on 28 February.

Austal USA has delivered twelve EPFs to the USN since 2012, on schedule and under budget. “The EPF has become a real success story, delivering a fast, flexible and versatile capability to the US Navy. The EPF has made a real difference to military operations and other humanitarian and disaster relief missions over many years now, and this additional vessel contract reflects the continuing confidence in the unique high-speed platform […] This latest EPF will expand the medical facilities available on-board, further enhancing the proven operational capabilities of the ship, which has been used for various medical missions in the Pacific, South East Asia and Western Africa […] Austal USA is understandably proud of its record of success with the EPF, which has been deployed and operated by US Military Sealift Command (USMSC) for the US Navy, in theatres around the world,” commented Austal Ltd CEO, Paddy Gregg.

The SPEARHEAD-class EPF is a 103m high-speed aluminium catamaran with a large, 1800sqm cargo deck, medium-lift helicopter deck and seating for 300+ embarked troops; providing a fast, high-payload transport capability to combatant commanders. Designed and built by Austal, EPFs support a wide range of missions – from maritime security operations to humanitarian aid and disaster relief. An EPF’s flexibility also allows it to support potential future missions; such as special operations, C2.

One EPF is already in construction at Austal USA’s Mobile, AL shipyard, with a second due to begin construction later this year. In addition to the EPF program, the company is contracted to deliver 19 INDEPENDENCE-class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) to the USN, 13 of which have already been delivered, with a further five in various stages of construction and one contracted but yet to commence construction.

The SPEARHEAD-class EPFs provide the USN with a fast and high-payload transport capacity. (Photo: Austal Ltd)

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