US Navy commissions expeditionary fast transport Puerto Rico

US Navy photo by Heath Zeigler
US Navy photo by Heath Zeigler

The US Navy christened its newest Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport (EFT), the future USNS Puerto Rico (T-EPF 11), at Austal USA’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard on Saturday, November 10.

This will be the first active US Navy ship to honour the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. An Alaska-class cruiser named Puerto Rico (CB 5) was authorised on July 19, 1940, but construction was cancelled on June 24, 1943.

The Spearhead­-class EFTs are designed to transport 600 tonnes of military cargo 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. Each EFT is capable of operating in shallow-draught (4.5 metres) ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading a combat-loaded M1A2 Abrams main battle tank.

EFTs also come equipped with a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that will allow vehicles to quickly drive off the ship.

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