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New Navy transport launched

By Richard Tomkins

June 12 (UPI) -- The ninth Expeditionary Fast Transport for the U.S. Navy USNS City of Bismarck, is undergoing final outfitting by Austal following its launch.

The Spearhead-class vessel, intended for intra-theater transport of cargo and troops, took to water at an Austal shipyard earlier this month in Mobile, Ala.

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"Launching the ninth ship in the EPF production line is a great achievement for the Navy and Austal," said Capt. Henry Stevens, Strategic Theater and Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office, Ships. "Launching is a significant achievement in the production process. We'll now focus our efforts to final outfitting in preparation for trials."

According to the US Naval Sea systems Command, the City of Bismark is capable of transporting 600 short tons of cargo 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots.

The EPFs feature a flight deck and an off-load ramp which allow quick access ports and quays. Littoral operations and port access are further enhanced by the ship's 15-foot shallow draft, ability to interface with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and ease of access to austere and deteriorated piers.

Austal delivered the eighth EPF, USNS Yuma, to the Navy in April. It's under contract for EPF 11 and 12.

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EPFs are about 338 feet long, 93.6 feet in the beam, and have a speed of 49 miles an hour. Range is 1,400 miles, and it can carry about 312 soldiers.

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