Austal USA successfully completed acceptance trials on the 338′ City of Bismarck, expeditionary fast transport (EPF 9), Oct. 20, in the Gulf of Mexico. City of Bismarck is slated for delivery to the U.S. Navy later this year and is the ninth ship in Austal’s 12-ship EPF contract valued at over $1.9 billion.
The achievement involved the execution of intense comprehensive tests by the Austal-led industry team while underway, which demonstrated to the Navy the successful operation of the ship’s major systems and equipment, a statement from Austal USA announcing the successful acceptance trials said. Acceptance trials are the last milestone before delivery of the ship.
Austal’s EPF program is very mature with eight ships delivered and four more under construction at the Mobile, Ala. facility. The Spearhead-class EPF is currently providing high-speed, high-payload transport capability to fleet and combatant commanders. The EPF’s large, open mission deck and large habitability spaces provide the opportunity to conduct a wide range of missions from engagement and humanitarian assistance or disaster relief missions being conducted today — recently assisting in the Hurricane Irma and Maria relief missions — to the possibility of supporting a range of future missions including special operations support, command and control, and medical support operations. With its ability to access austere and degraded ports with minimal external assistance, the EPF provides unique options to fleet and combatant commanders.
“Austal is proud of the continued success of this important program evidenced by the completion of this major milestone, EPF 9 acceptance trials,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said in the prepared statement. “An achievement made possible by the continued commitment to excellence of an incredible workforce.
“We are so proud of the great things we are hearing about these ships from the Military Sealift Command and what they are doing around the world,” he added. “From downed airplane search and rescue missions and hurricane relief assistance in the Caribbean to historic port calls in South Asia to pirate activity intervention off the coast of Africa, these are just a few of the many examples of how versatile the EPF fleet has proven to be in every corner of the globe.”
In addition to the EPF program, Austal has also received contracts for 15 Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy with a combined value of over $4 billion. Six LCSes have been delivered while an additional six are in various stages of construction.