Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The Navy has awarded Austal $40.4 million for procurement of long lead time materials and engineering services for the Expeditionary Fast Transport 14.
For work on the contract, announced Monday by the Department of Defense, Austal has been obligated $20.2 million in Navy 2019 shipbuilding and conversion funding at time of award. Work is expected to be completed by July 2022.
The EPF is designed to carry up to 600 tons of cargo and 312 troops, plus Military Sealift Command attachments. Its range is over 1,300 miles between refueling at a maximum speed of up to 46 miles per hour, making it relatively short-ranged but speedy for a transport ship.
The ship is capable of operating in shallow ports and waterways and is designed for compatibility with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and can perform on/off-loading of heavy armored vehicles like the M1 Abrams tank.
The EPF has a flight deck for helicopter and UAV operations and an off-load ramp that allows vehicles to embark quickly upon landing.
EPF's have a draft of under 15 ft., enabling it to operate in coastal areas and shallow or damaged ports for combat logistics, disaster relief and general utility work depending on the mission.
It carries a civilian crew under Navy command like other USNS ships but generally has military personnel attached. Nine ships in the class are currently operational, with several under construction or pending delivery.