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Austal authenticates keel of Spearhead-class EPF USNS Point Loma.

| 2023

According to information published by the US DoD on June 30, 2023, the keel for the USNS Point Loma, a future Expeditionary Fast Transport Ship (EPF 15) and part of the Spearhead-class EPF Flight II configuration, was authenticated at Austal USA.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of the future Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Point Loma. (Picture source: US DoD)

The ship sponsor's initials are inscribed onto a ceremonial keel plate during the keel laying, which for EPF 15, is Mrs. Beth Asher. EPFs are designed for operations in shallow waters and versatile mission profiles, ranging from overseas contingency operations to humanitarian aid, disaster relief, special operations forces support, and theater security cooperation activities.

The USNS Point Loma, with a tonnage of 1,515 tonnes and a length of 103.0 m (337 ft 11 in), boasts a beam of 28.5 m (93 ft 6 in) and a draft of 3.83 m (12 ft 7 in). Her ramp, apt for austere piers and quay walls in developing countries, and her shallow draft allows near-shore operations.

This twin-hulled aluminum catamaran houses four diesel engines and facilities for up to 40 crew members. She also contains 312 airline-style passenger seats and a spacious 20,000 sq ft (1,900 m2) mission bay that can be loaded with varied cargo types.

Equipped with four MTU 20V8000 M71L diesel engines and four ZF 60000NR2H reduction gears, the ship attains speeds up to 43 knots (80 km/h; 49 mph) and has a range of 1,200 nmi (1,400 mi; 2,200 km). She can accommodate a payload of 600 short tons, transport up to 312 troops, and has a crew capacity of 41.

The USNS Point Loma is fitted with four mounts for M2 .50 caliber machine guns for defense (two at the aft and two forward). Her Flight II configuration provides enhanced Role 2 medical capabilities, comprising an ICU, ward beds, limited X-ray and dental facilities, and a lab. The ship is also capable of V-22 flight operations and deploying 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boats.

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