The US Navy has marked the construction start for its 10th expeditionary fast transport (EPF) vessel, Burlington (EPF 10), with a keel laying ceremony on September 26.
The keel was said to be “truly and fairly laid” as it was authenticated by William Pfister, vice president emeritus of Austal USA, by signing his initials into the keel plate.
The USNS Burlington is the final EPF vessel Austal USA is delivering under a contract with the US Navy valued in excess of US$1.6 billion.
“EPFs are incredibly versatile and an asset to the Navy’s fleet,” said Capt. Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships. “With the production consistency that has been demonstrated in the program over the years, I look forward to seeing EPF 10 continue to progress toward delivery.”
The 103 metre, shallow draft all-aluminium catamaran, is a multi-mission, non-combatant transport vessel. The ship is capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo lift providing combatant commanders high-speed sealift mobility with inherent cargo handling capability and agility to achieve positional advantage over operational distances.
EPFs are capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. Each vessel includes a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations. Burlington will have airline-style seating for 312 embarked forces with fixed berthing for 104.
The EPF program delivered its eighth ship, USNS Yuma (EPF 8), earlier this year and City of Bismarck (EPF 9) is preparing for its second set of sea trials before delivery later this year. Future Puerto Rico (EPF 11) started construction earlier this year and EPF 12 started construction earlier this week.