The US Navy has conducted builder’s and acceptance trials for its new berthing barge, Auxiliary Personnel Lighter (APL) 69.

The trials were carried out at Pascagoula in Mississippi, US.

In 2018, the shipbuilding company VT Halter Marine received the initial contract to design and develop two APL along with an option for four more units.

The company is currently under contract to produce two additional APLs.

The builder’s trials included a range of in-port tests and demonstrations, which allowed the US Navy and VT Halter Marine to assess the craft’s system.

It will ensure the installation as per the design and configuration of the craft and the guidelines of original equipment manufacturer to meet the contract requirements.

Further, acceptance trials of the APL 69 involved integrated testing to validate the capability of the platform and installed systems across all mission areas.

All the tests and demonstrations are conducted under the supervision of the US Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). The barge will be delivered to Yokosuka, Japan.

The 82m-long barges can accommodate up to 609 people including 72 officers and 537 enlisted personnel.

APLs can also be used for humanitarian missions and other temporary assignments.

In addition, APLs are equipped with classrooms, offices, washrooms, a medical treatment facility, laundry facilities, a barber shop, and a fitness centre.

Construction of APLs is being facilitated by the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) acquisition unit Programme Executive Office (PEO) Ships.

US Navy, Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Boats and Craft and PEO Ships programme manager captain Eric Felder said: “These vessels improve quality of life for our Sailors during ship maintenance availabilities and inter-deployment training cycles.”