The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of its eighth Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel, USNS Yuma (EPF 8), April 21.
EPFs are shallow draft, all aluminum, commercial-based catamarans capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo transport, that provide combatant commanders high-speed sealift mobility. EPFs enable rapid projection and agile maneuver and transport of personnel, equipment and supplies over operational distances and offer access to harsh and degraded offload points.
“EPFs have performed exceptionally in the fleet, and we continue to deliver highly capable ships that can successfully meet a wide range of missions,” said Capt. Henry Stevens, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “The delivery of Yuma will provide continued warfighting capabilities to our fleet as these ships continue to conduct operations around the globe.”
As versatile, non-combatant vessels, EPFs provide increased operational flexibility for a wide range of activities including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations, and flexible logistics support. These vessels can interface with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and are capable of on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank. The EPFs include a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations and airline-style seating for 312 embarked forces with fixed berthing for 104. USNS Yuma will be owned and operated by the Military Sealift Command.
USNS Yuma was constructed by Austal USA which is currently under contract for the construction of four additional EPFs. A christening ceremony is scheduled for City of Bismarck (EPF 9) next month with a keel laying ceremony planned for Burlington (EPF 10) early this summer. EPFs 11 and 12 were awarded in September 2016 and are currently in the early stages of production.
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.