Future USNS Puerto Rico aces acceptance trials

USNS Puerto Rico (EPF 11) successfully completed the first integrated sea trials for an Expeditionary Fast Transport ship Aug. 22. Photo: Austal

The US Navy’s eleventh expeditionary fast transport vessel has completed both builder’s and acceptance trials in a single underway, becoming the first ship in its class to do so.

The future USNS Puerto Rico (EPF 11) carried out the combined trials in the Gulf of Mexico, enabling reduced costs and a shorter completion schedule.

“The future USNS Puerto Rico successfully completed and passed all tests, and returned from sea earlier than scheduled, a testament to the effort and expertise of Austal USA’s professional shipbuilding team and the US Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV),” David Singleton, the CEO of the shipbuilder Austal, said.

“These trials involved the execution of intense, comprehensive testing by the Austal-led industry team while underway, which demonstrated to the US Navy the successful operation of the ship’s major systems and equipment.”

Puerto Rico is scheduled for delivery to the US Navy before the end of the year as the eleventh of a planned 14 Spearhead-class ships.

Once it enters service, USNS Puerto Rico will be the first active ship in naval service to honor the island in the West Indies east of Hispaniola. An Alaska class cruiser named Puerto Rico (CB-5) was authorized on July 19, 1940, but construction was canceled on June 24, 1943.

Spearhead-class are all-aluminum shallow-draft hull, commercial-based catamarans capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo lift. They measure 103 meters in length and are designed to transport 600 short tons of military cargo 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. They are capable of operating in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams main battle tank (M1A2).

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