The US Navy has officially received its ninth expeditionary fast transport (EPF) vessel – USNS City of Bismarck (EPF 9).
The shallow-draft, aluminium catamaran was delivered to the navy by shipbuilder Austal on December 19.
EPFs are capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo transport and provide combatant commanders high-speed sealift mobility enabling the transport of personnel, equipment and supplies over operational distances with access to austere and degraded offload points.
“EPFs continue to be excellent additions to the US Navy force,” said Capt. Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “With the delivery of EPF 9 to the fleet, the navy continues to provide a variety of capabilities to US operations around the globe.”
These vessels are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and 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. City of Bismarck will be owned and operated by the Military Sealift Command.
City of Bismarck was constructed by Austal USA which is currently under contract for the construction of three additional EPFs. Burlington (EPF 10) held its keel laying ceremony in September 2017. Additionally, Puerto Rico (EPF 11) and EPF 12 were awarded in September 2016 and are currently in the early stages of production.