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NEWS | March 29, 2016

USNS Yuma (EPF 8) Keel Authenticated

By By Team Ships Public Affairs

MOBILE, Ala. - Austal USA hosted a ceremony today celebrating the keel authentication of the Navy's eighth Expeditionary Fast Transport ship, the USNS Yuma (EPF 8).


The keel was said to be "truly and fairly laid" as it was authenticated by the Honorable Douglas Nicholls, Mayor of Yuma, Ariz. by welding his initials into the keel plate. Authentication represents a major milestone in the ship's construction as the keel is the symbolic backbone of a ship.


"We are honored to have Mayor Nicholls here for this exciting event," said Capt. Henry Stevens, Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Manager, Program Executive Office, Ships. "I look forward to working with the Mayor, the city of Yuma, and Austal as the ship continues to progress towards delivery."


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.


Yuma will be capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. The vessel will also include a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations. The ship will have airline-style seating for 312 embarked forces with fixed berthing for 104.


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.