The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) released a request for proposal (RFP) Feb. 7 for procurement of small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) capability for the national security cutters (NSCs).
Responses are due March 9, 2018, at 1 p.m. Eastern time. The RFP is available here.
The Coast Guard’s sUAS for NSC program seeks to acquire commercially available intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability for the NSC fleet that can remain airborne for about 12 continuous hours per flight. The sUAS will conduct surveillance, detection, classification and identification operations; it will also support prosecution by providing real-time imagery, data, target illumination, communications relay and other capabilities to the NSC and other government platforms as needed. The contract has a base period of one year, with seven yearly option periods.
The service deployed an interim sUAS capability on USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752) – an NSC based in Alameda, California – three times in 2017 and used the data gathered to refine the concept of operations and RFP requirements.
The RFP release marks a major turning point for the sUAS for NSC acquisition. “The Coast Guard aviation acquisition team has spent the last three years conducting market research, planning and analysis,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Sullens, deputy sUAS for NSC program manager. “This resulting request for industry proposals is a milestone event, as it marks the start of the Coast Guard’s operational employment of unmanned assets.”
The Coast Guard plans to award a contract later this year that will include the installation of sUAS capability on two NSCs and options to outfit the rest of the NSC fleet in future years.