The US Navy has christened its new expeditionary fast transport vessel as USNS Yuma (EPF 8), at Austal’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard.

USNS Yuma has been named in honour of the city of Yuma in Arizona, which claims strong connections with the military.

US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said: "The christening of USNS Yuma is not only a celebration of the city of Yuma's long-standing partnership with the Navy and Marine Corps, a relationship that will now be highlighted for decades to come as this ship operates around the globe, but also of the Department of the Navy's partnership with the incredibly skilled men and women who have worked so hard to build this great ship.”

"USNS Yuma is the fourth vessel to be named after the city of Yuma."

USNS Yuma is the fourth vessel to be named after the city of Yuma, the first being USS Yuma (YT-37), a tug which was originally called USS Asher J Hudson, and later changed to Yuma.

The 103m-long shallow draft aluminium catamaran vessel can be deployed to conduct multiple missions, and features high volume, speed, and flexibility in its operation.

USNS Yuma is slated to be launched next month, and will join her sister EPFs that were delivered over the last three years.

Austal is currently constructing three more EPFs at its Mobile shipyard, under a $1.6bn block-buy ten-ship contract for the US Navy.

Image: Ship sponsor Napolitano christens USNS Yuma. Photo: courtesy of Austal USA.