The US Navy’s 12th expeditionary fast transport (EPF) vessel, the future USNS Newport (EPF 12), was launched at Austal USA’s shipyard on February 20, 2020.
“We are excited to get Newport in the water, so we can shift focus to final outfitting and trials,” Tim Roberts, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office Ships, commented.
Christened in Mobile, Alabama in November 2019, USNS Newport is the fourth navy ship to bear the name Newport.
— Austal USA (@Austal_USA) February 21, 2020
EPF class ships are designed to transport 600 short tons of military cargo 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. The ship is 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).
The EPF includes a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that will allow vehicles to quickly drive off the ship. EPF’s shallow draft (less than 15 feet) further enhances littoral operations and port access. This makes the EPF an extremely flexible asset for support of a wide range of operations including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport.
The future USNS Newport is on track to deliver later this year.
Austal USA has also started construction of the future USNS Apalachicola (EPF 13) and is under contract to build the future USNS Cody (EPF 14).