Mobile, Alabama — The U.S. Navy awarded Austal USA a $261.8 million contract for the 13th and 14th Expeditionary Fast Transport ships (EPFs) on March 25, Austal said in a release.
The new contract not only expands Austal’s current 12-ship EPF program but sets the company and the Navy up for a potential transition to more medically based variants of the high-speed transport.
The now slightly over $2 billion 14-ship total value of the EPF program underscores the ability of Austal to build highly capable ships at an affordable cost in its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, according to Austal. As Austal prepares to execute these latest contracts, the company’s advanced ship design division is looking at revolutionary designs for future warfighting capability and support from the EPF.
“This contract reflects the confidence the U.S. Navy has in Austal’s talented workforce to build these highly capable, cost-effective ships,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said. “It’s exciting to see how the EPF ships are supporting the MSC fleet in so many different capacities. We look forward to continuing to strengthen the fleet with the addition of EPF 13 and 14 and beyond.”
The EPF’s large, open-mission deck and large habitability spaces allow it to conduct a wide range of missions — from engagement and humanitarian assistance to disaster relief and from maritime security support operations to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
With a draft of only 13 feet and a unique propulsion system, the EPF’s ability to access austere and degraded ports with minimal external assistance provides an overabundance of options to fleet and combatant commanders, Austal USA said. With their draft, propulsion system, large mission bay and speed above 40 knots, these ships have the potential to support future requirements in special operations, command and control and medical support.
Austal’s EPF program has delivered 10 ships, and two more under construction at its headquarters and ship manufacturing facility in Mobile.