The keel for the future USNS Cody, Expeditionary Fast Transport Ship (EPF-14), the first of the Spearhead-class EPF Flight II configuration, was laid at Austal USA, January 26.
A keel laying is the recognition of the start of a ship’s construction. It is the joining together of a ship’s modular components and the authentication or etching of an honoree’s initials into a ceremonial keel plate.
«The new capabilities of this variant of EPFs fulfills a critical need for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps», said Tim Roberts, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Ships. «Ensuring that the fleet has fast access to the right medical care increases both the safety and readiness of our Sailors and Marines».
EPFs are operated by the Military Sealift Command and the USNS Cody (T-EPF-14) is the first ship in naval service named after Cody, Wyoming.
Beginning with EPF-14, the Flight II configuration will enhance current EPF capabilities by including a combined forward resuscitative care capability with a limited Intensive Care Unit and medical ward, while maintaining most of the original requirements of the ship. Flight II EPFs will be able to stabilize postsurgical cases for evacuation without the requirement to first route them through a higher facility.
EPF ships provide high speed, shallow draft transportation capabilities to support the intra-theater maneuver of personnel, supplies and equipment for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. The design of the EPF allows flexibility to support the fleet in maintaining a variety of roles, including humanitarian assistance, maritime security, disaster relief and more.
Austal USA is also in construction on the future USNS Point Loma (EPF-15) with production efforts commencing earlier this month.
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, sealift ships, support ships, boats and craft.