The US Navy has accepted delivery of its ninth expeditionary fast transport (EPF) vessel, USNS City of Bismarck (EPF 9) at Mobile, Alabama.
The non-combatant Spearhead-class EPFs are 103.0 metres in length and provide high-speed, high-payload transport capability to fleet and combatant commanders.
EPFs provide increased operational flexibility for a wide range of activities including manoeuvre and sustainment, relief operations and flexible logistics support. Their large, open mission deck and large habitability spaces provide scope for a range of missions from engagement and humanitarian assistance or disaster relief missions.
The shallow-draught vessels are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams main battle tank. The EPFs include a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations and airline-style seating for 312 embarked forces with fixed berthing for 104.
To be owned and operated by the Military Sealift Command, City of Bismarck was constructed by Austal USA as part of a 12-ship EPF contract valued at more than US$1.9 billion.
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