The US Navy has received the first Expeditionary Fast Transport 6 (EPF 6), USNS Brunswick, from Austal USA at its shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.
USNS Brunswick is part of a ten-ship, $1.6bn contract signed by the US Navy with Austal, and is the first ship to be delivered by the company to the navy this year.
Three more EPFs are under construction.
The EPFs, formerly called joint high-speed vessels (JHSV), are used for fast intra-theatre transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment.
The EPF programme merges the previous Army Theater Support Vessel (TSV) and the Navy High Speed Connector (HSC).
The non-combatant vessel is capable of transporting 600 short tonnes 1,200 nautical miles, at an average speed of 35k.
The ships can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interface with roll-on / roll-off discharge facilities, and on or offload a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2), Austal said.
Austal CEO Andrew Bellamy said: "The EPF programme is now mature and stable. The entire team at Austal USA has much to be proud of in achieving this. It’s a great ship and a great programme."
The company will soon deliver EPF 7 USNS Carson Carson City, and is developing modules for Yuma (EPF 8) and Bismarck (EPF 9) at its module manufacturing facility.
Construction of Burlington (EPF 10) is expected to begin by the end of this year, while EPF 11 and 12 have been funded by Congress in the 2015 and 2016 omnibus appropriations bills.
In October, the company received a $54m contract to provide long lead materials for EPF 11, while the navy has not yet finalised shipbuilding contracts for EPF 11 and 12.
Image: Austal has delivered USNS Brunswick (EPF 6) to the US Navy. Photo: courtesy of Austal.