Austal lays keel for US Navy’s eighth expeditionary transport vessel

Australian-based shipbuilder Austal has laid the keel for the eighth U.S. Navy Expeditionary Fast Transport vessel Yuma (EPF 8) at its Mobile, Alabama facility during a ceremony held March 29.

The ship is built under a 10-ship, $1.6 billion block-buy contract awarded to Austal in 2008.

Laying the keel is the formal recognition of the start of a ship’s construction.

Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said: “I am excited to reach this significant milestone today in such a short period of time, considering we just launched EPF 7 from this bay in late January. The momentum we’re experiencing on the construction of this amazing ship is evidence of the strength of Austal’s EPF program, and the continued success displayed by Austal’s talented shipbuilding team.”

Austal delivered USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6) in mid-January while three other EPFs are under construction at Austal USA’s ship manufacturing facility in Mobile.

Of the ships already delivered to the Navy, USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1) is in Africa on its third deployment and recently took part in a successful anti-piracy operation.

The shipbuilder further said that the future USS Montgomery (LCS 8) is scheduled for delivery later this year.