Austal USA christened the Navy’s future expeditionary fast transport vessel (EPF 12) Newport Saturday in Mobile, Ala.

The Spearhead-class EPF is currently providing high-speed, high-payload transport capability to combatant commanders. The 338' all aluminum catamaran’s 20,000-sq.-ft. large, open mission deck and large habitability spaces provide the opportunity to conduct a wide range of missions – from engagement and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief missions being conducted today to the possibility of supporting a range of future missions – special operations support, command and control, and medical support are all potential missions. With its 13' draft that provides the ability to access small, minor, and degraded ports with minimal external support, and its large flight deck, the EPF offers unique options to fleet and combatant commanders.

The EPF is designed to transport 600 short tons of military cargo 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots in sea state 3. The ships are capable of operating in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams main battle tank (M1A2).