On March 29 in Mobile, Alabama Austal USA celebrated the keel-laying milestone for the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EFT) vessel USNS Yuma (T-EPF-8) with a ceremony marking a significant milestone in the ship’s construction. This ship is the eighth EPF built at Austal USA under the 10-ship, $1.6 billion block-buy contract awarded to Austal in 2008.
Laying the keel is the formal recognition of the start of a ship’s construction. The keel runs lengthwise down the middle of the ship serving as the basic foundation or spine of the structure, providing the major source of the hull’s strength.
The Honorable Douglas Nicholls, Mayor of the City of Yuma, Arizona, authenticated the keel at the ceremony by welding his initials onto an aluminum keel plate that will eventually be placed in ship’s hull. Mayor Nicholls was assisted by Austal USA A-Class welder, Courtney Cagle. Ms. Cagle began her employment with Austal USA in 2012 as an apprentice.
«I am excited to reach this significant milestone today in such a short period of time, considering we just launched EPF-7 from this bay in late January», Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said. «The momentum we’re experiencing on the construction of this amazing ship is evidence of the strength of Austal’s EPF program, and the continued success displayed by Austal’s talented shipbuilding team».
The EPF program at Austal is progressing rapidly. USNS Brunswick (T-EPF-6) was delivered in mid-January and there are three other EPFs under construction at Austal USA’s headquarters and ship manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama. Of the ships already delivered to the U.S. Navy, USNS Spearhead (T-EPF-1) is in Africa on its third deployment and recently took part in a successful anti-piracy operation. USNS Choctaw County (T-EPF-2) and USNS Millinocket (T-EPF-3) are also currently deployed supporting U.S. Navy fleet operations, including many international exercises.
Austal is also under a 10-ship block-buy contract worth over $3.5 billion for the U.S. Navy’s Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program. The company has delivered three LCS with another seven currently under construction. The future USS Montgomery (LCS-8) is scheduled for delivery later this year.
Defence vessels designed and built by Austal include multi-mission combatants, such as the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the United States Navy and military high speed vessels for transport and humanitarian relief, such as the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) – previously known as the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) – for the United States Navy and High Speed Support Vessel (HSSV) for the Royal Navy of Oman. Austal also designs, constructs, integrates and maintains an extensive range of patrol and auxiliary vessels for government agencies globally, including the Cape Class Patrol Boat Program for Australian Border Force. Defence vessels are designed and constructed in Mobile, Alabama and in Henderson, Western Australia.
Austal has been at the forefront of the high speed ferry market since the early days of the industry. Our market leading designs of high performance aluminium vessels have long been at the heart of Austal’s research and development. Today, commercial ship construction is centred on our shipyard in Balamban, Philippines.
|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
Carson City (EPF-7), under construction
Yuma (EPF-8), under construction
Bismark (EPF-9), under construction
Burlington (EPF-10), under construction