Austal has confirmed the successful completion of US Navy acceptance trials for the future USNS Newport, the fleet’s 12th Spearhead Class expeditionary fast transport (EPF) ship built by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama.
Acceptance trials involve the execution of a number of tests by the Austal USA-led industry team while the vessel is underway; demonstrating to the US Navy the successful operation of the ship’s major systems and equipment.
The trials are last significant milestone before delivery of the vessel, scheduled for August 2020.
Austal chief executive 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 eight 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,” Singleton explained.
The Spearhead Class EPF is a 103-metre high-speed aluminium catamaran with a large, 1,800-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.
With seven EPF’s currently deployed internationally, the Austal-designed EPF’s support a wide range of missions – from maritime security operations to humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
Singleton added, “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 ship’s flexibility also allows it to support potential future missions such as special operations, command and control, and primary medical operations.
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.
In addition to the EPF program, Austal USA is contracted to deliver 19 Independence Class littoral combat ships (LCS) for the US Navy. Twelve Independence Class LCSs have been delivered, with an additional five ships in various stages of construction.