Feb. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has christened U.S. Naval Ship Burlington, its newest Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport.
The USNS Burlington was christened in Mobile, Ala., on Saturday, with U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and his wife, Marcelle Pomerleau Leahy, as primary sponsors of the ship, and the senator giving the keynote address at the event.
Marcelle Leahy said naming the ship after the Vermont city of Burlington was "fitting because Vermonters have long heeded the nation's call to service."
"This ship honors Burlington, Vermont, a city that embodies American values and its patriotic, hard working citizens for their support and contributions to our Navy," Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said in a press release.
"Burlington, like the other ships in the EPF program, will provide our commanders high-speed sealift mobility and agility. I am thankful for this ship and her crew who will serve our nation for decades to come and I am thankful for our industrial force teammates whose service makes this great ship possible," Spencer said.
The future USNS Burlington is classified as an expeditionary fast transport and was built by Austal USA. The ship falls under the authority of the Military Sealift Command and will be primarily used by the Navy and U.S. Army.
The ship is designed to transport troops and equipment at high-speeds and in shallow waters for rapid deployment. The Navy says it can "carry 600 short tons of military cargo for 1,200 nautical miles, at an average speed of 35 knots." This equates to the Burlington being able to carry 1,200,000 pounds for 1,380 miles at an average speed of 40 mph.
The ship also has a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-loading ramp for disembarkment missions.
The Burlington is the 10th ship in the Spearhead-class. The next two in the class, the USNS Puerto Rico and USNS Newport, are under construction, according to the Navy.