Coast Guard Terminates Deepwater Replacement Patrol Boat Contract

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Coast Guard announced today it has terminated the Deepwater Fast Response Cutter-B acquisition currently with Integrated Coast Guard Systems and reassigned the project to the Coast Guard’s Acquisition Directorate.

The project is for twelve patrol boats scheduled for delivery beginning Spring 2010. ICGS, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, was notified of the decision earlier today.

“This decision is based on the Coast Guard’s ongoing commitment to improve management of the Integrated Deepwater System contract, to achieve best value for taxpayers and the government, and give Coast Guard men and women the capable assets they need to save lives, secure our maritime borders, and protect the environment,” said Adm. Thad Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard.

Allen emphasized this decision pertains only to the acquisition of patrol boats and does not impact ongoing negotiations with ICGS for other work to be done in the second performance period of the Deepwater contract, beginning June 2007.

The service is taking the action to ensure full and open competition, to control costs and deliver urgently needed patrol boats to meet basic mission requirements in the shortest time possible. The Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate expects to release the Request for Proposal for the 12 FRC-B patrol boats in May 2007. The RFP will be for a fixed-price contract based on an existing, in-service, proven patrol boat design requiring only minimal modifications to meet basic requirements. The so-called “parent craft” acquisition strategy was chosen for the FRC B when design work on the FRC-A was suspended in early 2006 due to technical risk.

This action by the Coast Guard is in alignment with its recently released “Blue Print for Acquisition Reform”, which emphasizes risk management and cost control and states the service must be able to effectively employ either a government or commercial entity as systems integrator.

The $24 billion, 25-year post-9/11 Deepwater Implementation Plan provides for progressive modernization and recapitalization of the aging Coast Guard fleet. The Fast Response Cutter is the smallest of the three major classes of cutters included in the Deepwater plan and will be able to deploy independently to conduct missions such as ports, waterways and coastal security, fishery patrols, drug and illegal migrant law enforcement, search and rescue, and national-defense operations. Advancing the design and construction of this new patrol boat is one of the Coast Guard’s top near-term priorities.

FACT SHEET: Fast Response Cutter-B

Planned as the smallest of three major classes of Coast Guard cutters, the Fast Response Cutter will be able to deploy independently to conduct the service’s missions, such as ports, waterways and coastal security, fishery patrols, drug and illegal migrant law enforcement, search and rescue, and national-defense operations. Advancing the design and construction of this new patrol boat is one of the Coast Guard’s top near-term priorities. The $24-billion, 25-year post-9/11 Deepwater Implementation Plan calls for 58 FRC A and B class end-state assets. The FRC will be built to deliver all required capabilities to the Coast Guard in a way that will enhance the safety and well-being of its crew and allow the Coast Guard to execute its assigned missions more effectively, efficiently, and safely.

The Deepwater Program temporarily suspended design work February 2006 on the FRC-A due to technical risk. Because of the Coast Guard’s urgent need for patrol boats, the Coast Guard then began work on a “dual path” approach that includes an interim strategy to acquire a B-class vessel until technical risks with the A-class design can be mitigated. A “parent craft” acquisition strategy was chosen for the B-class – also sometimes called the Replacement Patrol Boat – to be based on an in-service, proven patrol boat design. The Coast Guard issued a Request for Information in April 2006 as part of the B-class strategy to obtain information on available, proven patrol boat designs that could potentially meet the requirements for the FRC-B Replacement Patrol Boat. Based on review of 27 designs submitted by 19 firms under this RFI, the Coast Guard determined that the existing patrol boat market could meet top level FRC-B requirements with minimal design modifications.

In order to acquire an FRC-B as expeditiously as possible, the Coast Guard issued a Request for Proposal for the design of the cutter to Integrated Coast Guard Systems in November 2006. ICGS issued a Broad Industry Announcement and RFP for the design of the FRC-B. The ICGS RFP period closed January 31, 2007. Coast Guard leadership also subsequently announced the service would ask ICGS to hold a competition for production of the chosen design.

Interim briefings on the progress of the design proposal, as well as projection by ICGS that the additional requirement to compete production of the FRC-B would add up to a year to its delivery schedule, led Coast Guard leadership to consider alternate methods of acquiring the patrol boats.

Adm. Thad Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard, signed a decision memorandum March 14, 2007, approving the Deepwater program executive officer’s recommendation to terminate the current FRC-B acquisition with ICGS and reassign the acquisition to the Coast Guard’s Acquisition Directorate. The goal of this action is to ensure full and open competition, meet basic mission requirements/desired performance characteristics, control costs and deliver a patrol boat in the shortest time possible to reduce the Coast Guard’s patrol boat gap.

This action is based on the Coast Guard’s ongoing commitment to improving program management to achieve best value for taxpayers and the government. Analysis by the Coast Guard indicates an organic Coast Guard acquisition of the FRC-B is likely to produce a high-performing patrol boat at less cost and in less time than pursuing the acquisition through ICGS. The Acquisition Directorate’s strategy to use a “parent craft” design based on a proven, in-service patrol boat will reduce technical risk and design development time. In addition, design and production efforts will be combined into one competitive RFP, thus saving time over separate design and production RFPs. The Coast Guard expects to issue the RFP for the design and production of the FRC-B in May 2007, with the first of 12 boats scheduled for delivery in Spring 2010.

FRC-B RFP Requirements Include:

Length: 120 ft. – 160 ft.
Flank Speed: 28 knots min.
Independent Operations: 5 days min.
Seakeeping: At a minimum conduct all missions through SS4 and survive through SS6
C4ISR: Interoperable with CG, DHS, DOD, RESCUE 21.
Armament: 25mm remote operated weapon system, .50-caliber machine guns
Crew Size: 20 Enlisted and 2 Officers
Small Boat Launch/recovery: Performed safely with no more than 3 personnel

More information on the Coast Guard’s Deepwater program is available at the Coast Guard website.

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