Austal USA has officially delivered the newest expeditionary fast transport (EPF) ship USNS Puerto Rico (T-EPF 11) to the US Navy.

The future USNS Puerto Rico is the US Navy’s 11th EPF vessel. It will be operated by the navy’s Military Sealift Command.

Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager captain Scot Searles said: “We are excited to accept delivery of another versatile ship, further expanding the advantage of our civilian mariners at sea. Delivery of our 11th ship is a testament to the inherent flexibility of the EPF class.”

The vessel concluded integrated sea trials in August. The trials combined both builder and acceptance trials in a single underway period.

The trials represented the first integrated sea trials for an EPF vessel.

EPF ships are shallow-draft catamarans that can conduct intra-theatre transport of personnel and cargo.

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The vessels are used in support of non-combatant activities such as relief operations, manoeuvre, sustainment, and logistics support.

The ships can also be used for ‘on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams main battle tank’.

The EPF offers operational flexibility by providing access to austere and degraded ports.

Austal noted that the ships have the potential to support command and control, and special operations.

The 12th EPF, the future USNS Newport, was christened last month during a ceremony.

Two ships, EPF 12 and EPF 13, are currently under production at Austal USA facilities.

The company was awarded a contract in March to build the 13th and 14th EPFs for the navy.