US Coast Guard Awards Contracts for Icebreaker Studies
The United States Coast Guard awarded five firm fixed-price contracts for heavy polar icebreaker design studies and analysis this week.
The contracts were awarded to the following recipients: Bollinger Shipyards, LLC, Lockport, Louisiana; Fincantieri Marine Group, LLC, Washington, DC; General Dynamics/National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego, California; Huntington Ingalls, Inc., Pascagoula, Mississippi; and VT Halter Marine, Inc., Pascagoula, Mississippi. The combined total value of the awards is approximately $20 million.
Enhanced icebreaking capabilities are considered to be a national security imperative as well as important for maintaining shipping lanes through the Arctic region. Melting Arctic ice is opening the potential for regular northern shipping routes.
The objective of the studies are to identify design and systems approaches to reduce acquisition cost and production timelines. In addition to a requirement to develop heavy polar icebreaker designs with expected cost and schedule figures, the contracts require the awardees to examine major design cost drivers; approaches to address potential acquisition, technology, and production risks; and benefits associated with different types of production contract types.
The heavy polar icebreaker integrated program office, staffed by Coast Guard and US Navy personnel, will use the results of the studies to refine and validate the draft heavy polar icebreaker system specifications. The use of design studies is considered a Navy an acquisition best practice.
“These contracts will provide invaluable data and insight as we seek to meet schedule and affordability objectives,” said Rear Admiral Michael Haycock, the Coast Guard’s Director of Acquisition Programs and Program Executive Officer. “Our nation has an urgent need for heavy polar icebreaking capability. We formed an integrated program office with the Navy to take advantage of their shipbuilding experience. This puts us in the best possible position to succeed in this important endeavor.”
The studies are expected to take 12 months to complete. The Coast Guard plans to release a draft request for proposals for detail design and construction by the end of fiscal year 2017, followed by release of the final RFP in fiscal year 2018. The program office plans to award a single contract for design and construction of the lead heavy polar icebreaker in fiscal year 2019, subject to appropriations.