The U.S. Coast Guard on Aug. 5 awarded a firm fixed price indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to Birdon America Inc. of Denver, Colorado, to perform work supporting the service’s 47-foot Motor Lifeboat (MLB) service life extension program (SLEP).
The initial award to complete the detail design and service life extension work on the first vessel is valued near $6.5 million, with a total projected contract value of close to $190 million to complete the MLB SLEP over the 10-year contract period. The initial work for detail design and the first vessel will be performed at a subcontractor facility on the West Coast, Fred Wahl Marine Construction along the Umpqua River in Reedsport, Oregon. Once in full production, a second subcontracted work facility is planned to be opened on the East Coast.
The 47-foot MLB is the Coast Guard’s primary search-and-rescue platform operating in surf and heavy weather conditions. It has self-righting capability and the ability to operate in winds up to 50 knots, seas up to 30 feet, and surf up to 20 feet. The service’s fleet of more than 100 MLBs has been in service for 15 to 21 years and is approaching the end of its planned 25-year service life. The operational need for these unique capabilities in search-and-rescue, maritime law enforcement, and contingency response remains high.
The SLEP will extend the useful life of the MLB by 20 years; SLEP work will be performed on a minimum of 107 MLBs and a maximum of 117 MLBs. The main work will be on systems experiencing technical obsolescence: the main propulsion, electrical, steering, towing and navigation systems, as well as replacement of areas of the hull and structure that have demonstrated high failure rates. Additionally, efforts to enhance human system integration will be made where practical to do so. The original operational capabilities and characteristics of the 47-foot MLB will not change.