Austal USA has been awarded a contract to design and deliver an additional expeditionary fast transport (EPF) ship, EPF 16, to the US Navy.

The $230.5m (A$324.6M) award is a fixed-priced incentive or firm-target contract option exercised by the US Navy under EPF programme.

As part of the programme, Austal has already delivered 12 EPF vessels to the US Navy, starting from 2012.

In 2019, the US Navy awarded another contract to build additional vessels EPF 13, EPF 14 and EPF 15.

Currently, the three vessels are under construction at Austal’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, US.

Austal is developing EPF 13 as a prototype for autonomous operations and EPF 14 and 15 are being built as per Flight II design specifications to deliver enhanced medical capabilities.

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By GlobalData

Construction of the EPF 16 will start later this year, while its delivery is expected in 2025. The third Flight II configuration ship will be EPF 16.

Austal USA CEO Paddy Gregg said: “Austal’s Flight II EPF’s will further enhance the US Navy’s capability and enable a fast response with expanded medical support facilities available for any mission or theatre of operation.”

The US Navy’s expeditionary fast transport vessels are designed to perform various missions including surveillance, maritime security, command and control, disaster relief, humanitarian aid and counter narcotic operations.

Meanwhile, Austal is constructing the Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS) 32, 34 and 36 for the US Navy and has also received a contract for LCS 38.

Soon, the company is also expected to start the construction of the first of two Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue ships (T-ATS), following the opening of its new steel shipbuilding production line.