Construction of high-speed expeditionary transport ships EPF (USA)


At present, Austal USA, the American branch of Austal Australia, is engaged in the construction of the Spearhead project for the US Navy by Expeditionary Fast Transport or EPF. The existing order has been completed by more than two-thirds, and work on it continues. The other day the launch of the next 12th vessel took place. In the coming months, USNS Newport (T-EPF-12) will be tested and sent to service.


Board number "12"


The construction of EPF ships lasts about 10 years. During this time, the Austal USA shipyard (Mobile, Alabama) managed to work out all the necessary technologies and establish a real conveyor production. All construction and testing works are carried out in full accordance with the schedule setting a very high pace.

So, the contract for the construction of the new ship “Newport” was signed on September 16, 2016. The bookmark took place much later, on January 29, 2019. Construction lasted less than 13 months and has now been completed. On February 21, 2020, shipbuilders began the process of launching the vessel. In connection with the specifics of production capacities and the water area, such events include several sequential actions and take about two days.


Conclusion of the vessel from the assembly shop to the barge

Launching began with the withdrawal of the vessel from the assembly shop. Using special conveyors, the finished product was brought to a barge and delivered to a dry dock. Direct launching took place due to the immersion of the dock. After that, the transport was towed to the mooring wall. Such procedures are carried out regularly and not only as part of the EPF program, so they are well developed.

In the near future, Austal USA will conduct sea trials of the new vessel. Upon completion, USNS Newport (T-EPF-12) is expected to be delivered to the customer. All events will take several months. The customer will receive a new transport before the end of this year.

Previous and next


Austal USA received an order from the US Navy to design and build the Joint High Speed ​​Vessel or JHSV (EPF designation later) in 2008. Initially, the contract provided for the construction of one vessel with an option for nine. The head sample has confirmed its characteristics, so new contracts have appeared. So, by the end of 2010, Austal USA had firm orders for three vessels. Another seven were negotiated by other agreements and options.


In 2011, the Navy adjusted their plans. Now for needs fleet It was proposed to order about 20 vessels with delivery during the tenth and twenties. However, such plans were soon abandoned, and the series was limited to a dozen ships. The latest EPF construction contracts in accordance with these plans were signed in 2012.

However, soon new discussions began, the result of which was the expansion of the series. In September 2016, Austal USA received an order for the 11th and 12th EPF ships. In October and December 2018, two new agreements were signed on preparations for further construction. In March 2019, two more vehicles were officially ordered.

It is possible that new orders will appear in the near future, but even without them the Austal USA plant has enough work. Right now his task is to test the USNS Newport (T-EPF-12), build the next USNS Apalachicola (T-EPF-13) and prepare for the USNS Cody (T-EPF-14).

High speed construction


Austal USA has extensive experience in the construction of catamarans of various classes, and it was used in the development of promising vehicles for the US Navy. The design of the Spearhead-class ships is based on proven solutions, and also includes some borrowed units. All this simplified the design process, and also reduced the complexity and cost of production.


The lead ship USNS Spearhead (T-EPF-1) was laid in July 2010, and launching in September 2011. The testing process was delayed for more than a year, but in December 2012 the vessel was handed over to the customer. The completion of work on the lead vessel allowed the construction of the first production ship to begin - it was laid in November 2011 and launched in October 2012 with some delay relative to the original plans. By that time, since May, the third ship was already under construction.

EPF vessels are relatively large in size, which is why they are assembled at only one slipway position of the plant. As a result, only one such order can be built at a time. Quickly enough, the company managed to establish a production cycle that ensured all tasks were completed. It takes from several months to a year to build one transport. Then they spend several months preparing for the construction and carry out a new bookmark.

According to this scheme, to date, 12 vessels have already been built. Another high-speed transport is being built. The last EPF ordered is pledged this year. Two ships will be completed by 2021 and a few months after that they will be handed over to the customer.


The ship is being transported to the dock

It should be noted that the construction of ships at a high pace is facing some problems. So, in 2011, an accident occurred, as a result of which a large block of the USNS Choctaw County (T-EPF-2) vessel structure was damaged. This incident negatively affected the construction and commissioning dates.

Serious problems appeared in 2015. The USNS Spearhead (T-EPF-1) head transport returned from another march with damage to the bow of the hull. The reason for this was the lack of structural strength due to errors in the design of lightweight units. Based on the results of these events, it was necessary to repair and modernize the five ships built and make changes to the construction of the ships under construction.

Transport for Marines


The EPF / Spearhead-class high-speed expeditionary transport vessels are designed to quickly transport people and equipment by sea over long distances. The design of the vessels is optimized to solve such problems - they are able to take on board approx. 550 tons of cargo and carry it for 1200 nautical miles, developing a speed of up to 40-43 knots.


EPF is an aluminum catamaran with a length of 103 m and a displacement of 1500 tons. The power plant includes four diesel engines that drive water cannons. The bulk of the internal volume of the hull is given for the placement of the payload - for this, residential and non-residential compartments are provided.

For transporting people, EPF has several cockpits that can be equipped with passenger seats (312 pcs.) Or bunks (104 pcs.). The duration of the voyage, taking into account the ship's reserves, is limited to 4 or 14 days, respectively. Own transport crew consists of 41 people.

For equipment and other goods intended deck area of ​​1900 sq.m. Loading is carried out using its own aft crane; the technique is driven on its own along the folding ramp. The presence of such systems allows loading and unloading independently, which reduces the requirements for port equipment.


Transport in the dock; launching soon

The ship is capable of carrying a helicopter. There is a take-off area on the deck. There is also a place for transporting a helicopter. The operation of all machines of this class available to the Navy is ensured. At the same time, the MVF 22 tiltrotors cannot carry EPF - the exhaust of their engines can damage the deck.

Multipurpose fleet


The main objective of Spearhead / EPF is to transport battalions along with their weapons and equipment. It is also possible to use ships in other transport or humanitarian operations. In particular, the deployment of a mobile hospital directly on the cargo deck was practiced. EPFs have high potential, an important component of which is high speed.

It should be noted that EPFs are not the largest or cargo transport vessels at the disposal of the US Navy. However, the limited capacity is offset by other characteristics. Spearhead is capable of delivering combat-ready units to the theater of war faster than other transport or landing ships.

The capabilities and abilities of EPF vessels have been repeatedly confirmed through a variety of exercises and other events. Success in operating the first vessels of the series contributed to the emergence of new orders. It is precisely because of this that the initial series of 10 vessels was expanded to 14. Thus, the US Navy can now involve a dozen high-speed transports at the same time, and in the coming years, such opportunities will increase due to new pennants. Already this year, the fleet will receive the 12th transport of a new type, recently launched. And two more will follow.
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  1. Sergey39 27 February 2020 18: 14 New
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    They have what it would be worth to look at our manufacturers.
    1. lucul 27 February 2020 18: 37 New
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      They have what it would be worth to look at our manufacturers.

      They easily buy everything they need, and we even have to beat the cranes at the shipyard with a fight.
      A long time ago there was a taboo on the sale of key technologies in Russia.
      Because of this, you have to do everything yourself ...
      1. max702 27 February 2020 18: 47 New
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        +25
        Quote: lucul
        Because of this, you have to do everything yourself ...

        So money should not be invested in a stub fund and American papers, but in the production and training of personnel so that they can design, build, and provide the necessary products in the future .. Chet didn’t think about this for 15 years .. But the amount of reserves in the banknotes of a likely enemy boasted ..
        1. lucul 27 February 2020 18: 51 New
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          Chet did not think about this for 15 years .. But on the other hand, they boasted of the reserves in the banknotes of the probable enemy ..

          This happens when the control is intercepted by the economy. They themselves can’t produce anything, just store money .... What in the state, what in the enterprise - traders in a word ...
          1. max702 27 February 2020 19: 13 New
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            Quote: lucul
            This happens when the control is intercepted by the economy.

            Yes, there are economists who need economists, and that's why they work for whose economy they need ..
          2. pmkemcity 28 February 2020 07: 41 New
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            Quote: lucul
            This happens when the control is intercepted by the economy.

            If an economist is flogged, then he can even save something. But the lawyer can only steal!
            1. Alt-right 1 March 2020 01: 44 New
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              Quote: pmkemcity
              If an economist is flogged, then he can even save something. But the lawyer can only steal!

              If a lawyer can only steal, then what, in principle, can any sofa theorist do? laughing
              But meanwhile, people who rush around in the address of the "humanities" without them (normal) do not really succeed.
              "Humanitarian" is all in the ass, and therefore with the rest of the problem.
              1. pmkemcity 1 March 2020 06: 42 New
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                Quote: Alt-Right
                "Humanitarian" is all in the ass, and therefore with the rest of the problem.

                Too many "humanitarian", from them and assholes grew. Indigestion.
      2. Cyrus 2 March 2020 17: 04 New
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        Yes, this is not the point, but in the absence of responsibility, which generates sloppiness and negligence + disregard for everything.
  2. antivirus 27 February 2020 18: 25 New
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    12 spoons is good for dSem.
    no one puts cons to amers
  3. Paul Siebert 27 February 2020 18: 33 New
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    Damn, it’s even enviable!
    How useful such vessels would be for our country!
    For the same "Syrian express". At least one!
    Not to mention twenty pieces ...
    Well - wait, we’ll deliver equipment and people to the BDK.
    And we will wait for "blessed times" for our fleet .. wink
    1. Romario_Argo 27 February 2020 18: 41 New
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      we in the USSR had similar developments on the skeg BOD, project 10210 Bison

      there are acting on the Black Sea Fleet, pr. 1239: Bora and Samum
    2. lucul 27 February 2020 18: 43 New
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      How useful such vessels would be for our country!
      For the same "Syrian express".

      Making a case is not a problem - everything will run into engines ...
      To enter the production of engines capable of moving destroyers / cruisers - we need 10 to 20 years. You have to do everything from scratch.
      That is, it was necessary to be puzzled back in the 1950s, and not after almost 100 years ...
      1. Cyrus 2 March 2020 17: 06 New
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        No time, yesterday we had to assemble a fleet off the Syrian coast, well, etc.
    3. Newone 27 February 2020 18: 47 New
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      For the Syrian express, such ships didn’t give up: the carrying capacity is small. A speed of 43 knots is needed for a quick transportation of military troops to a TVD, and not for the delivery of as many goods as possible (which is necessary for the Syrian express).

      But in general, EPFs show that the catamaran scheme is quite operational for an ocean-class vessel.
      1. Romario_Argo 27 February 2020 19: 28 New
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        But in general, EPFs show that the catamaran scheme is quite working

        only the body from ATGMs burns out strongly. Hussites tested
        1. Lontus 27 February 2020 19: 44 New
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          Quote: Romario_Argo
          But in general, EPFs show that the catamaran scheme is quite working

          only the body from ATGMs burns out strongly. Hussites tested

          What is the relationship between burnability and catamaran layout?
          None.
          Light metal constructions burn out in any layout
        2. Errr 27 February 2020 20: 17 New
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          Quote: Romario_Argo
          only the body from ATGMs burns out strongly.
          Wow ATGM with warhead in 165 kg. laughing
          There was a Chinese anti-ship C-802. But otherwise you are right. It turned out that just one rocket is enough. smile
        3. Falx 28 February 2020 01: 14 New
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          Yes, I remember, there was a thing, the Khutyaks tried this trough on the tooth. burning fun ...

          the truth is not sure that the anti-tank guided shmalmuli, but it does not matter ... the main result!

          https://al-bab.com/blog/2016/10/yemen-questions-over-civilian-ship-attacked-red-sea
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPc_XvvXkcI
          1. Cyrus 2 March 2020 17: 07 New
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            And that any other would not have warmed so much fun?
    4. KVK1 27 February 2020 21: 26 New
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      Damn, it’s even enviable!
      How useful such vessels would be for our country!
      For the same "Syrian express". At least one!
      Not to mention twenty pieces ...
      Well - wait, we’ll deliver equipment and people to the BDK.
      And we will wait for "blessed times" for our fleet ..

      100% sure, already designed even better vessels
      and even models built
      and showing who needs it
      so wait ...
  4. The leader of the Redskins 27 February 2020 18: 39 New
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    Funny boat. For medium-sized landing operations, probably the most ...
    1. Alt-right 1 March 2020 01: 58 New
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      Quote: Leader of the Redskins
      Funny boat. For medium-sized landing operations, probably the most ...

      It’s funny, yes. Only a tank company on such a vessel can still not be completely translated. The carrying capacity is small (550t.). A very intermediate option comes out. Military transport aviation is faster, and the BDK is more taken on board.
      But these are the States, they have money even to work out such "intermediate" decisions.
  5. Zeev Zeev 27 February 2020 19: 11 New
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    Interesting design. The only thing that bothers is the aluminum construction. It is clear that this was done to reduce weight and increase speed, but aluminum at high temperatures tends to burn, and with a bright flame.
  6. Freeman 27 February 2020 19: 26 New
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    Somewhere I have a similar design ... with eye-catching sheathing sheets ... already seen ... what

    A! Here!



    Threat. Joke! wassat laughing
    1. Petrol cutter 27 February 2020 21: 46 New
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      Honestly, I observed a similar design in the boathouse of the Almaz plant, which is located in St. Petersburg. Finally I remembered that it reminds me ... True, I watched a similar car about fifteen / seventeen years ago. I don’t remember exactly. When I was there about the construction of DKVP "Bison".
  7. Foxnova 27 February 2020 19: 32 New
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    We had cool bison
    1. Petrol cutter 27 February 2020 21: 47 New
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      They are. But this is a different type of ship. It’s completely different.
      1. Foxnova 27 February 2020 21: 57 New
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        Alone on the go ...
        1. Petrol cutter 27 February 2020 22: 11 New
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          Plus, another one of us in the third workshop is on the North Sea.
          They say Greek. But it does not have any identification marks.
          Actually, there was talk of building a series of five pieces.
          So far, everything is quiet. Yes, and how to be loud? We will build ships. I'm all for it! And where do we get a bunch of gas turbines?
  8. Lontus 27 February 2020 19: 53 New
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    “When building ships, we had to compromise on the design of the bow, apparently to reduce weight,” Gilmore writes in a letter to the US Congress. “As a result, many ships began to suffer damage to the aluminum hull due to a collision with the waves.”

    "However, even with the strengthening of the bow, it can be damaged by a high wave," he said.

    According to Gilmore, EPF should not go into the sea during high seas or "walk at low speeds."

    The repair of the first ship, received in 2012 g and tested in a rough sea, was spent $ 511 thousand. Repair the next three cost more - more than a million for each ship. The fifth EPF is currently awaiting repair.
    1. prodi 28 February 2020 13: 40 New
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      You'll understand them completely, the LCS-18 hull - the vessels of the coastal zone, was designed clearly more competent and seaworthy, but this (landing), supposedly over long distances, if regular “flooding” to the contours of the single-hull vessel is not provided, seaworthiness can’t even inspire confidence
      1. Lontus 28 February 2020 13: 46 New
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        Quote: prodi
        LCS-18 hull - vessels of the coastal zone, designed clearly more competent and seaworthy,

        Trimaran is generally the most seaworthy layout for a VI of less than 3000 tons.
        Therefore, I consider the inhibition of the development of Zelenodolsky ATS (a vessel with outriggers) as direct wrecking.

        Quote: prodi
        but at this (landing), supposedly over long distances, if regular “flooding” to the contours of a single-hull vessel is not provided, seaworthiness cannot even inspire confidence

        Saved twice
        - taking as a basis a civil vessel from alloys of light metals
        - to reduce the mass removed the bow providing seaworthiness
        1. prodi 28 February 2020 13: 59 New
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          and what catamaran nose can provide seaworthiness in general?
          1. Lontus 28 February 2020 14: 05 New
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            Quote: prodi
            and what catamaran nose can provide seaworthiness in general?

            such as here
            1. prodi 28 February 2020 14: 10 New
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              it is clear, i.e. again, an imitation of a trimaran
  9. Petrol cutter 27 February 2020 21: 36 New
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    Interesting article. The author is a plus. The vessels are interesting of course.
    In the course of familiarization, we visited questions on American shipbuilding.
    Painting the ship outside ... As I understand it, religion does not allow.
    This is a bit strange, as We decided to protect ships LKP. Moreover, the Quality Control Department was presented to us recently for not thoroughly cleaning the welds. Explaining this by the fact that the paint may not be of sufficient quality and accelerated corrosion will begin under it. And we are talking about AMg and, moreover, inside the case. Where, in theory, the water should not particularly get if the ship does not deign to sink.
    Loading takes place on its own. Wonderful. How is unloading done? It is clear that the answer is similar. But if the berths were suddenly hit by the Russian Aerospace Forces (for some reason)?
    In addition, the question of exactly where and how much equipment is being loaded is not addressed. Judging by the look, again from the stern, it is driven into the bowels of the hull. But how much and what is unknown.
    The floats have a flat-bottomed pattern judging by the view from the stern. For some reason, I thought that this was not the best solution in terms of streamlining.
    Well, that’s ... In general, the ship is interesting, probably progressive. It would be interesting to build a similar one for experimental purposes.
    In terms of speed of construction ... Do not assume that our shipbuilding is dumber than the enemy. Rather, the opposite. All methods are basically the same. Only ours, with their bare hands and on their knees, sculpt (and not much worse), and for those with such provision, and with such equipment, the steamers themselves must be built.
    1. Lopatov 27 February 2020 23: 26 New
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      Quote: Benzorez
      How is unloading done?


      Quote: Benzorez
      But if the berths were suddenly hit by the Russian Aerospace Forces (for some reason)?

    2. Lopatov 27 February 2020 23: 33 New
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      Quote: Benzorez
      But how much and what is unknown.

      Constanta, 18th year, training.


    3. Avior 27 February 2020 23: 52 New
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      they are aluminum, as I understand it, do not rust
      1. Petrol cutter 28 February 2020 19: 48 New
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        Aluminum alloys do not really rust in the accepted sense for steel.
        The trouble is that under the influence of the same sea water (and not only) without appropriate protection, it eventually begins to turn into a kind of powder. Well, crumble accordingly.
        Moreover, they became much faster shipbuilding.
  10. IL-64 28 February 2020 00: 09 New
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    40 knots? 75 km / h? Famously ... Interestingly, this is at what a scale of unrest at sea
    1. Petrol cutter 28 February 2020 19: 52 New
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      In polygon conditions. On the measured mile, apparently, he showed it.
  11. Kerensky 29 February 2020 20: 10 New
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    has several cockpits that can be equipped with passenger seats (312 pcs.) or bunks (104 pcs.). The duration of the voyage, taking into account the ship's reserves, is limited to 4 or 14 days, respectively.

    Good incentive for the marines. You will sit for 4 days in an armchair, at least where you ask, at least in battle!
  12. VicktorVR 9 May 2020 16: 12 New
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    The range is somehow incomprehensible, 1500 miles. How do they want to use them? It will not be able to sail away from the Americas anywhere.

    Dangling in the AUG 700 ... 800 km from the coast of the conventional "Korea" and, if necessary, make a breakthrough with the landing?