The US Navy has taken delivery of its eighth expeditionary fast transport (EPF) vessel USNS Yuma (EPF 8) from shipbuilder Austal USA.
Yuma has been built under the 10-ship, $1.6bn block-buy contract awarded to Austal in 2008, and has been delivered following its successful completion of acceptance trials, which took place in the Gulf of Mexico in February.
Programme Executive Office (PEO) Ships Strategic and Theatre Sealift programme manager captain Henry Stevens said: “EPFs have performed exceptionally in the fleet, and we continue to deliver highly capable ships that can successfully meet a wide range of missions.
“The delivery of Yuma will provide continued warfighting capabilities to our fleet as these ships continue to conduct operations around the globe.”
The US Navy’s USNS Yuma EPF will be owned and operated by the Military Sealift Command.
A christening ceremony is scheduled for City of Bismarck (EPF 9) in May following the delivery of Yuma, while a keel laying ceremony planned for Burlington (EPF 10) early this summer. EPFs 11 and 12 are currently in the early stages of production.
EPF units are shallow draft, commercial-based, all-aluminium catamarans, which can carry out intra-theatre personnel and cargo transport, as well as providing combatant commanders with high-speed sealift mobility.
The versatile, non-combatant vessels offer enhanced operational flexibility for various activities such as manoeuvre and sustainment, relief operations, and flexible logistics support.
EPFs are also capable of interfacing with roll-on / roll-off discharge facilities and on / off-loading vehicles, such as a combat-loaded Abrams main battle tank.
They are equipped with a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations, along with offering airline-style seating for 312 embarked forces, with fixed berthing for 104.
Image: Mayor Douglas Nicholls etches his initials into the keel plate of the USNS Yuma (EPF 8). Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo / Released.