USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6) and USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), the two primary Pacific Partnership mission platforms, sail in formation with the Royal Canadian Navy's HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331) during a passing exercise (PASSEX) in May, 2018. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Kelsey L. Adams) 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) shipbuilding program provides high speed, shallow draft transportation capability to support the intra-theater maneuver of personnel, supplies and equipment for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Army.
The 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.
The Joint High-Speed Vessel USNS Millinocket (T-EPF-3) arrives in Subic Bay, Philippines, Nov. 21, 2017. Millinocket is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 7 in U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility, providing logistical solutions to the region's littorals and working hull-to-hull with partner navies to provide 7th Fleet with the flexible capabilities it needs now and in the future. (U.S. Navy photo by Capt. Todd Kutkiewicz/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.
In 2008, the Navy awarded Austal USA, Mobile, Alabama, 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 which have all been awarded. Austal was subsequently awarded a construction contract for EPF 11 and EPF 12 in September 2016. The company has also been contracted for Long Lead Time Material (LLTM) for EPF 13/14, with construction contracts planned for 2019.
The Navy has accepted delivery of ten EPFs with USNS Burlington (T-EPF 10) being the most recent delivery in November 2018. The shipbuilder is in production on Puerto Rico (EPF 11) and Newport (EPF 12) and plans to start construction on EPF 13 in late FY 19.
Updated Jan 2019