Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., met with Navy officials at the shipyard today onboard the 338′ expeditionary fast transport vessel City of Bismarck to make the delivery of the vessel (EPF 9) official. TheCity of Bismarck is the second ship in this program that Austal has delivered in 2017, with the Navy taking delivery of Yuma (EPF 8) earlier this year.
The EPF program provides the Navy with high-speed intra-theater transport capability. The City of Bismarck is an aluminum catamaran capable of transporting 600 tons over 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots,. It is designed to operate in austere ports and waterways, too shallow and narrow for the larger ships in the surface fleet, providing added flexibility worldwide. The ship’s flight deck can also support flight operations for a wide variety of manned and unmanned aircraft, including a CH-53 Super Stallion.
Today’s delivery marks the ninth EPF ship delivered to the Navy as part of a contract for 12 ships worth over $1.9 billion. Three additional Spearhead-class EPFs are under construction at Austal USA. Burlington (EPF 10) is in final assembly and modules for Puerto Rico (EPF 11) and EPF 12 are under construction in Austal’s module manufacturing facility.
“We take great pride in sending another EPF to join the MSC fleet thanks to the commitment of our talented shipbuilding team.” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle, said in a statement announcing the delivery. “It’s exciting to see how our U.S. Navy is combining this great platform with the capabilities of the littoral combat ship platform and expanding their mission sets to support a wide variety of operational needs around the globe — most recently when LCS 4 and EPF 3, 4 and 6 worked together to give the Navy access to over a thousand port locations in the littoral regions of South and Southeast Asia.”
In addition to the EPF program, Austal is also under contract to build Independence-variant LCS for the U.S. Navy. Six LCSes have been delivered while an additional seven are in various stages of construction.