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Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF)
Program Summary

GULF OF PANAMA (Sept. 25, 2016) U.S. Army 1-228 Aviation Regiment's UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter disembarks the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1) during UNITAS 2016. UNITAS is an annual multi-national exercise that focuses on strengthening our existing regional partnerships and encourages establishing new relationships through the exchange of maritime mission-focused knowledge and expertise throughout the exercise. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jacob Sippel/Released)
The Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF), formerly designated the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), is a shallow draft, all aluminum, commercial-based catamaran capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo lift providing combatant commanders high-speed sealift mobility with inherent cargo handling capability and agility to achieve positional advantage over operational distances. Bridging the gap between low-speed sealift and high-speed airlift, EPFs transport personnel, equipment, and supplies over operational distances with access to littoral offload points including austere, minor and degraded ports in support of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)/Theater Security Cooperation Program (TSCP), Intra-theater Operational/Littoral Maneuver and Sustainment, and Seabasing. EPFs enables the rapid projection, agile maneuver, and sustainment of modular, tailored forces in response to a wide range of military and civilian contingencies such as Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO), Humanitarian Assistance, and Disaster Relief (HADR).

The EPF is designed to transport 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots in sea state 3. The ships are capable of operating in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2). The EPF includes a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that allows vehicles to quickly drive off the ship. The ramp is suitable for the types of austere piers and quay walls common in developing countries. The ship’s shallow draft (under 15 feet) will further enhance littoral operations and port access. This makes the EPF an extremely flexible asset for support of a wide range of operations including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport.
FORT-DE-FRANCE, Martinique (Sept. 26, 2017) The expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Spearhead's (T-EPF 1), left, is pierside near the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Mounts Bay (L3008) in Fort-de-France, Martinique. Spearhead is supporting humanitarian aid and disaster relief efforts in areas affected by Hurricane Irma. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristen Cheyenne Yarber/Released)
EPF has a crew of 26 Civilian Mariners (CIVMARS) with airline style seating for more than 312 embarked forces and fixed berthing for an additional 104. Military Sealift Command operates and sustains the EPFs, which will be allocated via global force management for theater security cooperation service unique missions, intra-theater sealift, and special missions.

On November 13, 2008, the Navy awarded Austal USA, Mobile, AL. a fixed-price incentive contract modification for Detail Design and Construction (DD&C) of one EPF. The contract modification also included options for the construction of up to nine additional ships and associated shore-based spares. All contract options have been awarded. A modification for the DD&C of EPF 11 and EPF 12 was awarded to Austal September 15, 2016 for a total of twelve EPFs.

The Navy has accepted delivery of nine EPFs with USNS City of Bismarck (T-EPF 9) being the most recent delivery in December 2017. Burlington (EPF 10) is planned for delivery in late 2018.

The shipbuilding program initially divided the ten prospective ships of the EPF class into five ships for assignment to the Army and five ships for the Navy. However, during Army/Navy Warfighter Talks in December 2010, both services agreed to transfer the Army’s five ships to the Navy.

Updated Jan 2018