The U.S. Navy christened its newest Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF), the future USNS Puerto Rico (T-EPF-11), during a 10 a.m. CST ceremony Saturday, November 10, at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.
The principal speaker was congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón, Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States served as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
«This ship honors the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the contributions Puerto Ricans have made to our nation and Navy and Marine Corps team», said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. «USNS Puerto Rico will provide our commanders high-speed sealift mobility and agility and I am thankful for this ship, her crew, and our industrial force teammates whose service makes this great ship possible».
The future USNS Puerto Rico, designated T-EPF-11, will be the first active ship in naval service to honor the island in the West Indies east of Hispaniola. An Alaska class cruiser named Puerto Rico (CB-5) was authorized July 19, 1940, but construction was cancelled June 24, 1943.
With an all-aluminum shallow-draft hull, the EPF is a commercial-based catamaran capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo lift providing combatant commanders high-speed sealift mobility with inherent cargo handling capability and agility to achieve positional advantage over operational distances.
EPF class ships are designed to transport 600 short tons of military cargo 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km at an average speed of 35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h. The ship is capable of operating in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams main battle tank (M1A2).
The EPF includes a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that will allow vehicles to quickly drive off the ship. EPF’s shallow draft (under 15 feet/4.57 meters) further enhances littoral operations and port access. This makes the EPF an extremely flexible asset for support of a wide range of operations including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport.
The EPF program delivered its ninth ship late last year, USNS City of Bismarck (T-EPF-9), with delivery of USNS Burlington (EPF-10) planned for mid-November. USNS Newport (EPF-12) are currently under construction at Austal’s shipyard.
|Material||Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy|
|Length overall||103 m/337.9 feet|
|Beam overall||28.5 m/93.5 feet|
|Hull draft (maximum)||3.83 m/12.57 feet|
|Area (with tie-downs)||1,863 m2/20,053 feet2|
|Clear Height||4.75 m/15.6 feet|
|Turning diameter||26.2 m/86.0 feet|
|ISO TEU (Twenty Equivalent Units) Stations||6 Interface Panels|
|Troop Berths||Permanent: 104|
|Galley and Messing||48|
|Main Engines||4 × MTU 20V8000 M71L Diesel Engines 4 × 9.1 MW|
|Gear boxes||4 × ZF 60000NR2H Reduction Gears|
|Waterjets||4 × Wartsila WLD 1400 SR|
|Average Speed||35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h @ 90% MCR with 635 mt (700 st) payload|
|Maximum Speed||43 knots/50 mph/80 km/h without payload|
|Maximum Transit Range||1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km|
|Self-Deployment Range||5,600 NM/6,444 miles/10,371 km|
|NAVAIR Level 1 Class 2 Certified Flight Deck for one helicopter|
|Centreline parking area for one helicopter|
|NAVAIR Level 1 class 4 Type 2 Certified VERTREP (Vertical Replenishment)|
|Helicopter Control Station|
|Active Ride Control||Transcom Interceptors|
|Foils: 3.24 m2/34.9 feet2 each, forward on inboard sides of demi-hulls|
|Vehicle Ramp||Articulated Slewing Stern Ramp|
|Straight aft to 45 Starboard|
|Telescoping Boom Crane||12.3 mt @ 15 m, 18.2 mt @ 10 m/13.6 Lt @ 49.2 feet, 20.1 Lt @ 32.8 feet|
USNS Spearhead (EPF-1), Delivered
USNS Choctaw County (EPF-2), Delivered
USNS Millinocket (EPF-3), Delivered
USNS Fall River (EPF-4), Delivered
USNS Trenton (EPF-5), Delivered
USNS Brunswick (EPF-6), Delivered
USNS Carson City (EPF-7), Delivered
USNS Yuma (EPF-8), Delivered
USNS City of Bismark (EPF-9), Delivered
USNS Burlington (EPF-10), Christened
USNS Puerto Rico (EPF-11), Christened
USNS Newport (EPF-12), Under construction