United States
June 27, 2023

Austal USA celebrates keel laying for the future USNS Point Loma (EPF 15)

MOBILE, Ala. – Austal USA celebrated the official start of construction of the future USNS Point Loma (EPF 15) with a keel laying ceremony today at the company’s Mobile, Ala. shipyard.  Ship sponsor Mrs. Elizabeth Asher, with the assistance of Perry Sullivan, a 17-year Austal USA veteran A-class welder, authenticated the keel by welding her initials into a keel plate that will be welded to the hull of the ship.

Keel laying is the formal recognition of the start of a ship's construction.  The keel laying symbolically recognizes module erection in final assembly at Austal USA and the ceremonial beginning of a ship.

“Austal USA is proud of the work our shipbuilders have done to bring us to this milestone,” said Dave Growden, vice president of new construction. “With each ship we deliver in the EPF program, we realize how far we have advanced since the delivery of the first and how strong our commitment is to provide the Navy with superior capability on-budget and on-schedule.” 

The future USNS Point Loma was named after the San Diego seaside community which has a long-standing naval presence and is home to Naval Base Point Loma, comprised of six installations, which provides support to 70 U.S. Pacific Fleet afloat and ashore-based tenant commands headquartered on the base.  EPF 15 is the second naval vessel to bear this name.

EPF 15 is the second EPF Flight II ship built by Austal USA in Mobile.  EPF Flight II provides a Role 2E (enhanced) medical capability which includes, among other capabilities, basic secondary health care built around primary surgery; intensive care unit; ward beds; and limited x-ray, laboratory and dental support. The EPF’s catamaran design provides inherent stability to allow surgeons to perform underway medical procedures in the ship’s operating suite. Enhanced capabilities to support V-22 flight operations and launch and recover 11 meter Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats complement the ship’s medical facilities. These Flight II upgrades along with EPF’s speed, maneuverability and shallow water access are key enablers for mission support of future Distributed Maritime Operations and Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations around the world. Flight II retains the capability of the Flight I to support other missions including core logistics missions.

The future USNS Point Loma is one of two EPF Flight II ships under construction at Austal USA with a third under contract.  EPF Flight II ships will augment the future Expeditionary Medical Ships which will be capable of comprehensive, multidisciplinary hospital operations.

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