Austal Limited achieved a breakthrough in naval healthcare, enhancing the United States Navy’s combat care capabilities with the delivery of USNS Cody (EPF-14). 

The ‘Flight II Expeditionary Fast Transport features medical facilities for procedures in challenging operational environments.

Constructed at Austal USA’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard, EPF-14 is the 14th ship in the series and the inaugural ‘Flight II’ variant, providing medical facilities and naval medicine afloat capabilities.

Austal Limited’s CEO, Paddy Gregg, emphasises the impact of the ‘Flight II’ EPF, stating, “Cody is the US Navy’s first EPF to include enhanced medical facilities that enable a broader range of surgical procedures to be undertaken at sea.” The ship features two operating rooms, an onboard pharmacy, a blood bank, and a laboratory, providing medical support during missions.

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By GlobalData

The ‘Flight II’ EPFs go beyond conventional capabilities, with the added feature of supporting V-22 Osprey flight operations and the ability to launch and recover 11-meter RHIBs. This multifunctional approach aligns and provides adaptability.

USNS Cody underwent acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico in December 2023, showcasing its capabilities through tests of major systems and equipment. This delivery marks a milestone for the United States Military Sealift Command, as Cody becomes the 14th EPF ship in its global fleet.

At the end of last year, the US Navy and Austal USA celebrated the christening of USNS Cody. Meanwhile, in 2022, Austal’s EPF 13, USNS Apalachicola, successfully concluded acceptance and uncrewed logistics trials, showcasing its autonomous capabilities, with around 85% of the time spent at sea in autonomous mode. 

Austal USA is advancing naval capabilities as they continue constructing two more EPFs (15 and 16) at the Mobile, Alabama shipyard. The 103-meter Spearhead-class EPF ships, used for transport and logistics support, represent Austal USA’s portfolio, encompassing surface combatants, auxiliaries, submarine modules, and autonomous vessels.

Austal USA recently secured a $867.6m contract from the US Navy to design and construct three Expeditionary Medical Ships (EMS). After completing the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF 16), the EMS will be produced in Austal USA’s aluminum manufacturing line. 

The delivery of USNS Cody (EPF-14) is a leap forward in naval medicine and operational flexibility.