Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., recently launched two Navy ships, the 338'x93'6" expeditionary fast transport vessel the Cody (EPF 14) and the 421'6"x103.7' future littoral combat ship Kingsville (LCS 36). Both ships are now docked pier side for final outfitting and system activation in preparation for sea trials later this year.
During the launch process, the ships — which weigh upwards of 2,500 metric tons — are lifted almost 3' in the air. Using transporters, the ships are moved approximately 400' onto a moored deck barge adjacent to the final assembly bay. The ships are transferred from the deck barge to a floating dry dock which is then submerged enabling the ships to float for the first time.
“The launches this week are a testament to the skill and capability of our shipbuilders but are also demonstrative of how we optimize efficiency through process discipline,” Austal USA vice president of new construction, Dave Growden, said in a statement announcing the launches. “Our test and activation, crane and rigging, and safety teams work methodically alongside our Navy partners and key vendors such as Berard. Those partnerships allow us to continually examine our process, identify opportunities for improvement, and more effectively achieve these major ship milestones.”
With both ships in the water, production efforts will transition to final outfitting and system activation to support the ships getting underway for sea trials. The Cody, which was christened last month, is the Navy’s first expeditionary fast transport (EPF) Flight II vessel.
As the first EPF Flight II, the ship represents enhanced Naval medicine afloat capabilities and will provide critical combat care in austere and contested operating environments. As the Navy’s 18th Independence-variant LCS, the future Kingsville will be deployed to the Pacific fleet area of responsibility supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence. Kingsville will be christened at Austal USA’s shipyard next month.
Both ships are aluminium builds and represent the nearing completion of the EPF and LCS new construction programs. Cody is the 14th EPF and Kingsville is the 18th of 19 Independence-variant LCSes that Austal USA is building for the Navy.
The EPF's main propulsion comes from four 20V8000 MTU diesel engines hooked up to four Wärtsilä steerable, reversing waterjets through four ZF 60000 NRTH gearboxes, giving the Cody a speed of 33 knots with 380 metric tonnes of cargo and 10 knots in sea state 5.
Each aluminum trimaran LCS has a displacement of 3,200 MT, a 15.1′ draft and is powered by a pair of 12,200-hp MTU 20V8000 diesel engines and two 29,500-hp GE LM2500 gas turbines.