Austal USA has received a A$434m ($325.07m) contract to design and build two expeditionary fast transport (EPF) vessels, EPF 11 and EPF 12, for the US Navy.

The latest deal is inclusive of the previously announced contracts awarded to Austal to procure long-lead time materials for EPF 11.

The company will now build a total of twelve EPFs under the existing block-buy contract awarded to the company in 2008 to design and construct ten EPFs.

"This new order for a further two EPF reflects the US Navy’s continued confidence and investment in a proven product."

Austal CEO David Singleton said “This new order for a further two EPF reflect the US Navy’s continued confidence and investment in a proven product.

“The EPF is a unique vessel that is re-defining naval sealift capability and exceeding expectations in various military and civilian operations around the world.

“Two more EPF signal a commitment by the US Navy to further expand the EPF roles and reach, and represent a significant opportunity for the Austal USA workforce who have been achieving impressive production efficiencies and improved margins across the programme.”

The 103m-long catamaran EPF vessel has been designed to be able to transport troops, vehicles and cargo quickly and efficiently.

It features a 1,800m² cargo deck, a medium-lift helicopter deck, and seating capacity to accommodate more than 300 embarked troops.

Capable of operating at a speed of 35k, the EPF can be deployed to conduct a range of missions, namely military and civilian logistics missions, humanitarian and disaster relief missions, and other maritime law enforcement activities.

Austal has already delivered seven EPFs, of which five are currently deployed by the United States Military Sealift Command (USMSC) with various US Navy fleets around the world.

The company is currently constructing three EPFs at its modular manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama, including the future USNS Yuma (EPF-8).

Image: Austal designed and built USNS Spearhead (T-EPF-1) for the US Navy. Photo: courtesy of Austal.