By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Saturday, January 16, Austal celebrated the christening of Expeditionary Fast Transport USNS Carson City (EPF 7) with a ceremony at its state-of-the-art shipyard in Mobile.
The USNS Carson City is the seventh of 10 Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels (EPF) (formerly known as joint high speed vessels (JHSV)), that Austal has under contract with the U.S. Navy as part of a $1.6 billion 10-ship block-buy contract.
Austal USA president Craig Perciavalle said, “We’re very excited to christen Carson City, and at how well this ship is coming together. The EPF program has really matured very well thanks to the incredible shipbuilding team we have here at Austal, including our Navy teammates.”
The Carson City is a 338-foot shallow draft aluminum catamaran designed to be multi-mission capable. It is a non-combatant transport vessel characterized by its high volume, high speed, and flexibility. Its large flight deck can accommodate a variety of aircraft. It is the second US Navy ship to be named Carson City after the capital city of Nevada.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus officially named EPF 7 “USNS Carson City” in April 2013. Secretary Mabus said, “Carson City displays American values of community, ingenuity and perseverance at their best.” He said he chose to name the ship after Carson City to honor those values and the men and women of the community as well as the state of Nevada.”
The Carson City’s sister EPF USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1) has over 100,000 nautical miles at sea and is currently on her fifth deployment since she was delivered in 2012.
The ship is sponsored by Susan Asbury Crowell. She is the daughter of U.S. Air Force Colonel Robert Asbury and wife of Captain Robert Crowell, USN (Retired). Susan and her husband have called Carson City home since the early 1970s. Susan is active in her community and has been a long-standing member of the Nevada Opera Association as well as president of the Brewery Arts Board of Directors and a member of the Mile High Jazz Band board. She has also served on the Carson Tahoe Hospital Foundation board of directors and is currently a member of the Carson Tahoe Hospital advisory board.
Over 300 naval guests, civic leaders, community members and Austal employees attended the ceremony held beneath the hull of the ship in Austal’s final assembly bay.
Three EPFs and six Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) are currently under construction in Austal’s Mobile, Ala. shipyard. The company is scheduled to launch EPF 7 before the end of the month, while the future USS Montgomery (LCS 8) prepares for its acceptance sea trials later this spring.
Austal is a global defense prime contractor and a designer and manufacturer of defense and commercial ships. Austal has delivered more than 200 vessels for a variety of roles in the last 25 years.
Defense vessels are designed and constructed in Mobile as well as in Henderson, Western Australia. Austal also builds high speed ferries and other high performance aluminum vessels commercial ships. Today, commercial ship construction is centered at their shipyard in Balamban, Philippines.