Future expeditionary fast transport USNS Yuma (EPF 8) successfully completed acceptance trials Jan. 26 after two days of underway evaluation in the Gulf of Mexico.

The ship returned to the Austal USA shipyard after demonstrating the readiness of its equipment and system operations for the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey. By conducting numerous tests, both dockside and underway, surveyors were able to evaluate and determine the ship met all criteria required for final acceptance.

"The EPF program continues to be a successful model of serial ship production," said Capt. Henry Stevens, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships. "The class continues to grow and advance the U.S. Navy, expanding U.S. presence across the maritime theater. I look forward to seeing EPF 8 deliver this year and the continued success of the program."

Expeditionary fast transports are versatile, noncombatant vessels designed to operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways. They provide increased operational flexibility for a wide range of activities including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport.

They are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, as well as on-loading/off-loading vehicles such as a fully combat-loaded Abrams main battle tank. Each vessel includes a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations. Yuma will have airline-style seating for 312 embarked forces with fixed berthing for 104.

As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.

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