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Future USNS Yuma launches from Austal USA shipyard

Future expeditionary fast transport ship entered the water for the first time late last week.

By Geoff Ziezulewicz
Future USNS Yuma launches from Austal USA shipyard
The U.S. Navy's future expeditionary fast transport ship, the USNS Yuma, was launched from the Austal USA shipyard this weekend, the service said. The USNS Carson City is shown here during acceptance trials this summer. Photo courtesy Austal USA

MOBILE, Ala., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy's future expeditionary fast transport ship, the USNS Yuma, was launched from the Austal USA shipyard this weekend, the service said.

During a multistep launch process, the ship was moved from the Mobile, Ala., modular manufacturing facility onto a moored docking barge and was submerged for the first time on Saturday, the Naval Sea Systems Command said in a statement.

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Getting the Yuma into the water paves the way for final outfitting of the ship, which will bring it closer to having its systems activated and moving out to sea for trials.

The ship, also known as EPF 8, is designed for fast transport of troops, vehicles and equipment within a theater.

It can carry 600 short tons at a range of 1,200 nautical miles and an average speed of 35 knots.

The EPFs are equipped with a flight deck and an offload ramp, allowing for vehicles and helicopters to quickly access ports and quays.

Their 15-foot shallow draft allows for the interface with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and ease of access to austere or deteriorated piers.

The USNS Brunswick, the sixth EPF, was delivered to the service in January. The seventh EPF, USNS Carson City, was delivered to the Navy in June.

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Yuma is slated for delivery in early 2017.

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