The US Navy's newest Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport (EPF) USNS Yuma (T-EPF 8) has successfully completed acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico.

The two-day trial saw USNS Yuma demonstrate its equipment and system operations readiness for the US Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey. The vessel then returned to the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

Evaluation included a series of dockside and underway tests, which enabled surveyors to evaluate and determine that the vessel addressed all required criteria for final acceptance.

Programme Executive Office (PEO) Ships Strategic and Theatre Sealift programme manager captain Henry Stevens said: “The EPF programme continues to be a successful model of serial ship production.

“The class continues to grow and advance the US Navy, expanding US presence across the maritime theatre. I look forward to seeing EPF 8 deliver this year and the continued success of the programme.”

"The EPF class continues to be a successful model, and I look forward to seeing EPF 8 deliver this year and continue the success of the programme."

The 103m-long USNS Yuma (T-EPF 8) is the eighth of ten EPFs that Austal is delivering to the navy under a contract valued in excess of $1.6bn.

USNS Yuma is a multi-mission, non-combatant, all-aluminium catamaran transport vessel designed to operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways. It will accommodate airline-style seating for 312 embarked forces, with fixed berthing for 104.

The EPFs also provide enhanced operational flexibility for different activities, such as flexible logistics support, relief operations in small or damaged ports, manoeuvre and sustainment, or as the major enabler for rapid transport.

EPF vessels are capable of interfacing with roll-on / roll-off discharge facilities and on-loading / off-loading vehicles, for instance a fully combat-loaded Abrams main battle tank.