Austal USA has been awarded a US$235 million (approximately A$295 million) undefinitised contract by the United States Navy (USN) for the detailed design and construction of the 15th Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel, Austal announced with a press release.
Austal USA has delivered twelve EPFs to the U.S. Navy since 2012, on schedule and under budget, from the company’s Mobile, Alabama, shipyard.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the new contract was a clear demonstration of confidence by the U.S. Navy in the versatile EPF platform, designed by Austal Australia and manufactured by Austal USA. “The EPF has become a real success story, delivering a fast, flexible, and versatile capability to the U.S. 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,” Mr. Gregg said.
“This latest EPF will expand the medical facilities available on-board, further enhancing the ship’s proven operational capabilities, which has been used for various medical missions in the Pacific, southeast Asia, and Western Africa.
“Austal USA is understandably proud of its record of success with the EPF, which has been deployed and operated by U.S. Military Sealift Command (USMSC) for the U.S. Navy, in theatres around the world.”
Austal EPF (Spearhead-class)
The Spearhead-class EPF is a 103-meter high-speed aluminum catamaran with a large, 1800 square meter 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. The Austal-designed and built 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, command and control, and primary medical operations.
One Spearhead-class EPF, the future USNS Apalachicola (EPF 13), is currently under construction at the shipyard. In contrast, the future USNS Cody (EPF 14) is scheduled to commence construction in the second half of FY2021. In addition to the EPF program, Austal USA is contracted to deliver 19 Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy.
Thirteen Independence-class LCS’ have been delivered, with an additional five ships in various construction stages and one contracted but yet to commence construction.