Construction on the U.S Navy’ next expeditionary fast transport USNS City of Bismarck officially started with a keel laying ceremony on January 18.
The ceremony was held at Austal’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard during which former North Dakota District Court Judge Robert Wefald served as keel authenticator.
US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that EPF 9 would be named after the city of Bismarck during a ceremony in September 2015 at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck.
Mabus named the ship in honor of North Dakota’s capital city.
This will be the first ship in naval history to bear the name.
Formerly known as joint high speed vessels (JHSV), the 103 metre EPF are shallow draft all-aluminium catamarans that serve as non-combatant transport vessels. 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.
USNS City of Bismarck is the ninth of overall 12 EPF Austal is contracted to build for the U.S. Navy. To date, Austal USA has delivered seven EPF, with five now deployed by the United States Military Sealift Command.