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Sea Platforms

US strengthens capacity building efforts across Asia Pacific with expeditionary fast transport ships

20 May 2018
Expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6) sailing through the Gulf of Thailand en route to a ‘Pacific Partnership’ 2018 mission stop. Source: US Navy

Key Points

  • The US Navy has expanded on the scope and involvement of its Spearhead-class fast transport ships in a series of humanitarian and capacity building missions
  • Vessel type is proving out to be an instrumental component of the service’s effort to strengthen relationships with partners across the Asia-Pacific region

The US Navy’s (USN’s) increased involvement of its expeditionary fast transport ship (EPF) vessel type in the 2018 iteration of Exercise ‘Pacific Partnership’ has enabled the service to better service ports in regions that are otherwise unreachable by other vessel types.

This has in turn strengthened the USN’s ability to enhance co-operative engagements with partners across the Asia-Pacific region, said officials from the service who spoke to Jane’s during a visit to USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6). The ship made a port call at RSS Singapura – Changi Naval Base over several days in May 2018, in preparation for further phases of the multilateral series of exercises.

‘Pacific Partnership’ 2018 is a series of US-led humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) preparedness drills that began in 2004 in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami. Since then, it has grown to involve more than 22 partner countries, and provided care to more than 300,000 patients across the Asia-Pacific region.

The 2018 iteration is the largest yet in terms of scope and naval assets featured, and is currently involving more than 800 personnel form the US military, militaries of partner countries, and officials from international non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It began in March 2018 in Yap Islands in the Federated States of Micronesia, and has since then conducted missions in Palau, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, East Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Besides, Brunswick , other USN vessels involved in the exercise are namely the 270 m hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH-19), and another EPF, USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3).

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