US Navy Receives First Autonomous Expeditionary Transport Ship From Austal

Austal USA has delivered the first expeditionary fast transport vessel with autonomous capability to the US Navy.

The delivery follows several months of sea trials to test and analyze the ship, from its typical systems to the autonomous design.

Dubbed the USNS Apalachicola (or EPF 13), the vessel is reportedly capable of providing a “positional advantage” for the navy in littoral waters.

It can also be used to prototype large vessel autonomous operations, such as logistics support.

Austal partnered with L3Harris and General Dynamics Mission Systems to build the state-of-the-art surface vessel.

‘Critical Asset’

According to Austal, the EPF 13 features enhanced capabilities to support the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor military aircraft.

Its highly-automated, in-house designed machinery control system allows the ship to be minimally manned while conducting operations.

“Austal USA is proud to deliver this ship to our Navy – it’s innovative and is going to be a critical asset as unmanned capabilities continue to push boundaries and redefine how missions are achieved,” company president Rusty Murdaugh said.

Austal said it will continue to work with industry partners to advance autonomous capabilities, considered an “area of strategic importance” on the modern battlefield.

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