Austal USA hosted a keel laying and authentication ceremony for the U.S. Navy’s future USNS Newport expeditionary fast transport vessel at the firm’s Mobile, Ala. shipyard, the Navy said Wednesday.
The service branch’s 12th EPF is a non-combatant ship intended for missions such as humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, overseas contingency operations, joint activities and special operations support. EPF 12 is designed to load vehicles such as Abrams main battle tanks and maneuver through waterways and shallow draft ports. The vessel is also fitted with a flight deck and can carry 600 short tons through 1,200 nautical miles at a speed of 35 knots.
Austal USA is constructing future USNS Puerto Rico (EPF 11), and is under contract with the Navy to produce long-lead-time materials for EPFs 13 and 14.