The US Navy’s ninth expeditionary fast transport vessel, the future USNS City of Bismarck (EPF 9), has successfully concluded builder's trials in the Gulf of Mexico.
During the trial, a series of tests were conducted to demonstrate the readiness of the vessel, including calibration of its communication and navigational systems, ship propulsion, as well as ride and pollution control.
The navy also carried out manoeuvrability tests to assess City of Bismarck’s four steerable water jets, while a series of high-speed turns demonstrated the stability and agility of the EPF catamaran hull form.
US Navy Programme Executive Office Ships Strategic and Theatre Sealift programme manager captain Scot Searles said: “This is a major step towards delivering City of Bismarck to the navy.
“City of Bismarck performed very well during Builder's Trials, which is a testament to the combined efforts of the industry and navy.
“The navy will benefit from EPF 9's delivery later this year as the need for versatile ships continues to grow.”
The EPF 9 is currently preparing to undergo acceptance trials, during which the navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey will investigate and evaluate the vessel to certify its readiness for delivery to the US Navy.
Austal is under contract to build ten EPFs, formerly known as the joint high-speed vessel, for the US Navy.
City of Bismarck, which was launched by the US Navy in June in Mobile, Alabama, US, will have airline-style seating for 312 embarked forces with fixed berthing for 104.
The EPFs are designed to operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, enhancing operational flexibility for a wide range of activities, including manoeuvre and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, and flexible logistics support. They also serve as the primary enabler for rapid transport.
Each EPF features a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and landing operations.