Austal said it has successfully completed acceptance trials on USNS City of Bismarck, Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF 9), October 20, in the Gulf of Mexico. The vessel, the ninth ship in Austal’s 12-ship EPF contract valued at over $1.9 billion, is slated for delivery to the U.S. Navy later this year.
“Austal is proud of the continued success of this important program evidenced by the completion of this major milestone, EPF 9 acceptance trials,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said. “An achievement made possible by the continued commitment to excellence of an incredible workforce.”
Trials involved the execution of intense comprehensive tests by the Austal-led industry team while underway, which demonstrated to the Navy the successful operation of the ship’s major systems and equipment. Acceptance trials are the last milestone before delivery of the ship.
“We are so proud of the great things we are hearing about these ships from the Military Sealift Command and what they are doing around the world,” stated Perciavalle. “From downed airplane search and rescue missions and hurricane relief assistance in the Caribbean to historic port calls in South Asia to pirate activity intervention off the coast of Africa, these are just a few of the many examples of how versatile the EPF fleet has proven to be in every corner of the globe.”
Austal’s EPF program includes eight ships already delivered and four more under construction at the Mobile, Ala. facility. The 338-ft Spearhead-class EPF is currently providing high-speed, high-payload transport capability to fleet and combatant commanders. The EPF’s large, open mission deck and large habitability spaces provide the opportunity to conduct a wide range of missions from engagement and humanitarian assistance or disaster relief missions being conducted today – recently assisting in the Hurricane Irma and Maria relief missions - to the possibility of supporting a range of future missions including special operations support, command and control, and medical support operations. With its ability to access austere and degraded ports with minimal external assistance, the EPF provides unique options to fleet and combatant commanders.
In addition to the EPF program, Austal has also received contracts for 15 Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy with a combined value of over $4 billion. Six LCS have been delivered while an additional six are in various stages of construction.