The US subsidiary of Perth shipbuilder Austal will design and construct a 16th Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel for the US Navy.
The USN has exercised a $324.6 million (US$230.5 million) fixed–priced incentive contract option for EPF 16 equipped with enhanced medical and aviation capabilities – the third medical version of the transport ship ordered.
Austal USA has delivered on schedule and on budget twelve EPF ships to the Navy since 2012, and is currently constructing EPF’s 13, 14 and 15 at the company’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.
EPF 13 is being developed as a prototype for autonomous operations, while EPF 14 and 15 were redesigned to deliver greater medical capability and capacity.
Rather than being equipped as hospital ships the vessels, which are based on 103-metre catamaran ferry design, have space which could me used for medical suites and operating theatres.
The shallow-draft vessels are capable of transporting 600 tons up to 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots.
Austal Limited CEO Paddy Gregg said the contract for another EPF with enhanced medical capabilities highlighted both the success of the high-speed vessel platform and its flexibility to deliver various mission profiles.
Construction of EPF 16 will commence later this year with delivery projected for 2025.
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