USNS Puerto Rico Successfully Completes Integrated Sea Trials
(Source: US Naval Sea Systems Command; issued Aug 23, 2019)
MOBILE, Ala. --- USNS Puerto Rico (EPF 11), successfully completed the first integrated sea trials for an Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship Aug. 22. The ship returned to the Austal USA shipyard following two days underway in the Gulf of Mexico.

Integrated Trials combine Builder's and Acceptance Trials, allowing for the shipyard to demonstrate to the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey the operational capability and mission readiness of all the ship's systems during a single underway period. During trials, the shipbuilder conducted comprehensive tests to demonstrate the performance of all of the ship's major systems.

"The EPF program continues to be an example of stable and successful serial ship production," said Capt. Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office Ships. "I look forward to seeing EPF 11 deliver in the fall and expand the operational flexibility available to our combatant commanders."

Expeditionary Fast Transport Ships are non-combatant vessels designed to operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, increasing operational flexibility for a wide range of activities including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport. The ships are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, as well as on/off-loading vehicles such as a fully combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank.

EPFs support a variety of missions including the overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supporting special operations forces, and supporting emerging joint sea-basing concepts.

In addition to Puerto Rico, Austal USA is also currently in production on the future USNS Newport (EPF 12), and is under contract to build the future USNS Apalachicola (EPF 13) and EPF 14.

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, special mission and support ships, and boats and craft.


EPF 11 Completes Acceptance Trials for U.S. Navy
(Source: Austal Ltd.; issued Aug. 26, 2019)
Austal Limited is pleased to announce that the 11th Austal designed and built Expeditionary Fast Transport Vessel, the future USNS Puerto Rico (EPF 11), has successfully completed U.S. Navy Acceptance Trials.

These trials, conducted in the Gulf of Mexico, were unique in that they integrated formal Builder’s Trials with Acceptance Trials for the first time on an EPF vessel. By combining the two at-sea trials into one event, there are great efficiencies gained, enabling reduced costs and a shorter completion schedule.

Austal CEO David Singleton congratulated Austal USA for achieving this critical program milestone. “The future USNS Puerto Rico successfully completed and passed all tests – a clean sweep – and returned from sea earlier than scheduled, a testament to the effort and expertise of Austal USA’s professional shipbuilding team and the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV),” he said.

“These trials involved the execution of intense, comprehensive testing by the Austal-led industry team while underway, which demonstrated to the U.S. Navy the successful operation of the ship’s major systems and equipment.

Sea trials are the last milestone before delivery of the ship. The future USNS Puerto Rico is scheduled for delivery to the U.S. Navy before the end of the year and is the eleventh Spearhead Class ship in Austal’s 14-ship EPF portfolio.

“The flexibility and versatility of the EPF is becoming increasingly evident. From serving as a mother ship to test unmanned aerial and undersea systems in the Atlantic to performing as command ships in Pacific Partnership 2019 (an exercise that includes more than 500 military and civilian personnel from more than 10 nations), the EPF fleet is proving to be a great asset to the future 355-ship US Navy,” Mr Singleton said.

Austal’s EPF program is mature with ten ships delivered and three more under construction in Mobile, Alabama, in addition to the future USS Puerto Rico. The Spearhead-class EPF is currently providing high-speed, high-payload transport capability to fleet and combatant commanders.

The EPF’s large, open mission deck and large habitability spaces provide the opportunity to conduct a wide range of missions from engagement and humanitarian assistance or disaster relief missions, to the possibility of supporting a range of future missions including special operations support, command and control, and medical support operations. With its ability to access austere and degraded ports with minimal external assistance, the EPF provides unique options to fleet and combatant commanders.

In addition to the EPF program, Austal has also received contracts for 19 Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy. Ten LCS have been delivered, five ships are in various stages of construction and four are yet to start construction.

Austal is an Australian shipbuilder and global defence prime contractor which designs constructs and sustains some of the world’s most advanced commercial and defence vessels. Austal is Australia’s largest defence exporter and the only ASX-listed shipbuilder. Austal has industry leading shipyards in Australia, the United States of America and Philippines and service centres worldwide.


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