US Navy’s tenth EPF aces builder’s trials

The US Navy’s tenth expeditionary fast transport vessel Burlington (EPF 10) completed builder’s trials on June 29.

Illustration: US Navy file photo of USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6) underway

The week of trials began dockside at the Austal USA Shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

EPF 10 engaged in pierside dock trials with the Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast working with the shipyard to demonstrate ship equipment and system operation including fire protection equipment.

The ship then spent two days underway performing various tests to demonstrate its readiness, including calibration of communication and navigational systems, ship propulsion, ride control, and anchor handling. Maneuverability trials tested the ship’s four steerable water jets while a series of high-speed turns demonstrated the stability and agility of the EPF catamaran hull form.

“Burlington performed very well and is well on the way towards her delivery as the next expeditionary fast transport vessel to the navy,” Capt. Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office Ships, said.

The next step for Burlington will be acceptance trials, during which the navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey will inspect and evaluate the ship to certify its readiness for delivery to the US Navy. Burlington is scheduled to begin acceptance trials in late July.

EPF’s 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.

They 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. Each vessel includes a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations. Burlington will have airline-style seating for 312 embarked forces with fixed berthing for 104.