USNS Puerto Rico completes acceptance trials
The future USNS Puerto Rico Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel has completed US Navy acceptance trials, manufacturer Austal announced on 26 August.
The trials were conducted on the EPF 11 vessel in the Gulf of Mexico, integrating formal builder’s trials with acceptance trials for the first time on an EPF ship.
By combining the two at-sea trials into one event, efficiencies are gained, Austal says, reducing costs and shortening the completion schedule.
‘The future USNS Puerto Rico successfully completed and passed all tests – a clean sweep – and returned from sea earlier than scheduled, a testament to the effort and expertise of Austal USA’s professional shipbuilding team and the US Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey,’ David Singleton, CEO of Austal, said.
‘These trials involved the execution of intense, comprehensive testing by the Austal-led industry team while underway, which demonstrated to the US Navy the successful operation of the ship’s major systems and equipment.’
Sea trials are the last milestone before delivery of the ship, Singleton added, noting that the future USNS Puerto Rico is scheduled for delivery to the USN before the end of the year, and is the eleventh example out of 14 vessels in this class that are being built.
In addition to USNS Puerto Rico, ten EPF vessels have been delivered and three more are under construction in Mobile, Alabama.
The Spearhead-class EPF is designed to provide high-speed, high-payload transport capability to fleet and combatant commanders, and its large, open mission deck and habitable spaces facilitates it carrying out multiple mission types including engagement and humanitarian assistance, as well as the possibility to extend into supporting special operations, command and control, and medical support operations.
In addition to the EPF programme, Austal has also received contracts for 19 Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the US Navy, ten of which have been delivered, five more are in various stages of construction, and four are pending the start of construction.
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