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Successful sea trials for USNS Puerto Rico EPF 11 Expeditionary Fast Transport


The USNS Puerto Rico (EPF 11), successfully completed the first integrated sea trials for an Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship August 22, 2019. The ship returned to the Austal USA shipyard following two days underway in the Gulf of Mexico.


Successful sea trials for USNS Puerto Rico EPF 11 Expeditionary Fast Transport EPF 925 001 SNS Puerto Rico (EPF 11) successfully completed the first integrated sea trials for an Expeditionary Fast Transport ship August 22, 2019. (Picture source  AUSTAL USA)


Integrated Trials combine Builder's and Acceptance Trials, allowing for the shipyard to demonstrate to the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey the operational capability and mission readiness of all the ship's systems during a single underway period. During trials, the shipbuilder conducted comprehensive tests to demonstrate the performance of all of the ship's major systems.

“The EPF program continues to be an example of stable and successful serial ship production,” said Capt. Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office Ships. “I look forward to seeing EPF 11 deliver in the fall and expand the operational flexibility available to our combatant commanders.”

Expeditionary Fast Transport Ships are non-combatant vessels designed to operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, increasing operational flexibility for a wide range of activities including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport. The ships are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, as well as on/off-loading vehicles such as a fully combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank.

EPFs support a variety of missions including the overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supporting special operations forces, and supporting emerging joint sea-basing concepts.

The US Navy's Expeditionary Fast Transport (T-EPF) program is procuring 12 high-speed transport vessels from Austal for the fast, intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment with aviation support.

The 103 metre T-EPF is capable of transporting 600 short tons up to 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. The ships can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interface with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-load a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2).

The EPF includes a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that allows vehicles to quickly drive off the ship. The ramp is suitable for the types of austere piers and quay walls common in developing countries. EPF’s shallow draft further enhances littoral operations and port access. This makes the EPF an extremely flexible asset for support of a wide range of military and other (humanitarian and disaster relief) operations to small or damaged ports.

EPFs have a core crew of 21 people, with airline style seating for more than 312 embarked forces and fixed berthing for 146.

In addition to Puerto Rico, Austal USA is also currently in production on the future USNS Newport (EPF 12), and is under contract to build the future USNS Apalachicola (EPF 13) and EPF 14.