Austal USA and Navy officials met on Friday in Mobile, Ala., to finalize the documentation required to make the delivery of expeditionary fast transport vessel USNS Yuma (EPF 8) official.
The EPF program provides the Navy with a new high-speed intra-theater transport capability. The 338′ Yuma is an aluminum catamaran capable of transporting 600 tons, 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, and is designed to operate in austere ports and waterways, providing added flexibility to U.S. war fighters worldwide. The ship’s flight deck can also support flight operations for a wide variety of aircraft, including a CH-53 Super Stallion.
Originally called the joint high-speed vessel, the Navy changed the name of the JHSV to the EPF in 2015, saying the new name better described the vessels’ capabilities. Friday’s delivery marks the eighth EPF ship delivered to the Navy as part of a 12-ship contract worth over $1.9 billion.
Upon delivery of Yuma, three additional Spearhead-class EPFs are under construction at Austal’s Mobile shipyard. City of Bismarck (EPF 9) is being erected in final assembly and modules for Burlington (EPF 10) and Puerto Rico (EPF 11) are under construction in Austal’s module manufacturing facility.
“It’s so exciting to see Yuma join the fleet; an incredible ship built by incredible people,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said in a statement announcing the event. “What’s even more exciting is seeing how our U.S. Navy is taking these great platforms and expanding their mission sets to support a wide variety of operational needs — demonstrating their value and versatility to our forward deployed Naval forces across the globe.”
In addition to the EPF program, Austal is also under contract to build Independence-variant littoral combat ships (LCS) for the Navy. Four LCSes have been delivered, including the future USS Montgomery (LCS 8), which was delivered last week, while an additional six are in various stages of construction.