The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of Expeditionary Fast Transport vessel, USNS Apalachicola (EPF 13), Feb. 16.

EPFs are designed to operate in shallow waterways and are capable of a wide range of activities. These versatile, non-combatant transport ships are used for the high-speed transportation of troops, military vehicles, and equipment. Their missions include:

• Overseas contingency operations
• Humanitarian assistance
• Disaster relief
• Support of special operations forces
• Theater security cooperation activities
• Emerging joint sea-basing concepts

EPFs can transport 600 short tons as far as 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. Each vessel includes a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations. The ships are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and on/off-loading vehicles such as a fully combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank.

“The delivery of EPF 13 comes after several successful at-sea periods for the vessel, including Unmanned Logistics Prototype Trials to assess autonomous capabilities integrated into the shipboard configuration,” said Tim Roberts, Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Manager, Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships. “The Navy and our shipbuilding partner, Austal USA, are proud of the work accomplished and look forward to EPF 13 providing capability and capacity to Military Sealift Command, the fleet, and the U.S. Marine Corps.”

Austal USA is under contract to build the future USNS Cody (EPF 14).

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission, support ships, and special warfare craft.