Austal Limited announced that it has received a US$867.6 million (A$1.28 billion) undefinitised contract award (UCA) for the final design and construction of three Expeditionary Medical Ships (EMS) from the United States Navy.
The EMS is based Austal’s proven Expeditionary Fast Transport ship (EPF) platform and will be manufactured in Austal USA’s aluminum manufacturing line following completion of the last Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF 16).
Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the contract enables the final detailed design for the Expeditionary Medical Ship to be completed and construction of three vessels to commence.
“The new Expeditionary Medical Ship further extends the capabilities of the proven Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) platform, designed and constructed by Austal, to enable more complex medical procedures and operations to be performed onboard, at sea and underway,” he said.
“These three new EMS will enhance the US Navy’s capability to provide effective medical and surgical support anywhere in the world, quickly, safely and efficiently.”
The Expeditionary Medical Ship (EMS), an Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) varian is a dedicated medical ship optimised to provide patient holding, stabilisation, evacuation and transport in support of Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO). The EMS design features a shallow draft which enables greater reach and allows for direct access to austere ports. The flight deck will accommodate military aircraft, including the V-22 Osprey and CH-53K heavy lift cargo helicopter.
Austal USA has delivered 13 EPFs, a predecessor to the EMS design, to the United States Navy. The company is preparing to deliver the first EPF Flight II, the future USNS Cody (EPF 14), which features enhanced Role 2E medical capability, and has two more Flight II vessels under construction.
According to US Navy sources, work on the three EMS vessels is expected to be complete by May 2030.