The U.S. Coast Guard released a request for proposal (RFP), on Jan. 31, to support the service life extension program (SLEP) of its heavy icebreaker USCGC Polar Star (WAGB-10).
The SLEP effort – which is part of the Coast Guard’s In-Service Vessel Sustainment program (ISVS) – will recapitalize a number of major systems and extend the service life of the cutter until the second Polar Security Cutter (PSC) is operational. The PSC is the newest class of icebreakers under construction for the Coast Guard.
The future contract will include SLEP work items and recurring maintenance in a five-year phased production schedule between 2021 and 2025. It will also include an award fee with potential to be earned for making the ship available ahead of schedule.
The RFP is available here. The deadline to submit responses is March 18 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
USCGC Polar Star is 399 feet long, 84 feet wide and has a displacement of 13,500 tons. She is powered by nine engines (six diesel engines, three jet-turbines) delivering a total of 93,000 hp. She is one of the largest ships in the Coast Guard fleet and one of the world’s most powerful non-nuclear ships.
Commissioned in 1976, the ship was built by Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company of Seattle, Washington along with her sister ship, USCGC Polar Sea (WAGB-11). After her sister ship was deactivated in 2010, Polar Star became the U.S.’s only active heavy icebreaker. The Coast Guard’s other icebreaker, USCGC Healy (WAGB-20), is classified as a medium icebreaker.
Polar Star supports nine of the 11 Coast Guard statutory missions. Each winter, the cutter travels to McMurdo Station in Antarctica as part of Operation Deep Freeze, which supports the National Science Foundation-managed U.S. Antarctic Program.
When the cutter is eventually decommissioned, its duties will be assumed by the planned PSCs.
Last year, the Coast Guard and U.S. Navy, working through an integrated program office, awarded VT Halter Marine Inc., a fixed price incentive contract in April for the detail design and construction of the Coast Guard’s lead polar security cutter, including options for the construction of two additional PSCs. The delivery of the first PSC is planned for 2024.