The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) announced the award of Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) industry studies contracts to eight shipbuilders on March 20.
These awards support the Coast Guard’s strategy to mitigate OPC program risk and complete the program of record by establishing a new, fair and open competitive environment to complete the OPC program of record. Industry studies contracts were awarded to:
• Austal USA, LLC of Mobile, Alabama: $2 million base award ($3.0 million total potential value)
• General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) of Bath, Maine: $2M base award ($3M total potential value)
• Bollinger Shipyards Lockport LLC of Lockport, Louisiana: $2M base award ($3M potential value)
• Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. (ESG) of Panama City, Florida: $1.1M base award ($1.2M potential value)
• Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) of Marinette, Wisconsin: $2M base award ($3M total potential value)
• General Dynamics/NASSCO of San Diego, California: $2M base award ($3M total potential value). [Was on the initial list of nine shipbuilders but was removed from the updated list.]
• Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (HII) of Pascagoula, Mississippi: $2M base award ($3M total potential value)
• Philly Shipyard, Inc. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: $2M base award ($3M total potential value)
• VT Halter Marine Inc. of Pascagoula, Mississippi: $2M base award ($2.9M total potential value)
Under their respective contracts, the awardees will assess OPC design and technical data, provided by the Coast Guard, and the program’s construction approach. Based on their analyses, the awardees will recommend to the Coast Guard potential strategies and approaches for the follow-on detail design and construction (DD&C). The awardees will also discuss how they would prepare the OPC functional design for production. The awardees may also identify possible design or systems revisions that would be advantageous to the program if implemented, with strategies to ensure those revisions are properly managed.
The Coast Guard will use the industry studies results to further inform its follow-on acquisition strategy and promote a robust competitive environment for the DD&C award. Participation in industry studies is not a pre-requisite for submitting a DD&C proposal.
U.S. Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) Program
The Offshore Patrol Cutter, also known as the Heritage-class cutter or the Maritime Security Cutter, Medium (WMSM), is a new class of cutters being built as part of the U.S. Coast Guard Integrated Deepwater System program.
It was announced in 2019 that the original winner of the OPC competition, Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG), was granted extraordinary relief by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after their shipbuilding facilities sustained significant damages from Hurricane Michael. ESG submitted a relief request on June 30, 2019, under the authority of Public Law (P.L.) 85-804, after Hurricane Michael – a Category 5 storm – made landfall at its facility in Panama City, Florida on October 10, 2018. Hurricane Michael caused widespread damage to ESG facilities as well as homes and businesses in the area.
The Coast Guard is now moving forward with an adjustment to the OPC detail design and construction contract with Eastern Shipbuilding Group for up to the first four hulls. The Coast Guard plans to acquire a total of 25 OPCs and a new RFI was released to inform the acquisition strategy for the follow-on procurement.
The OPCs are the Coast Guard’s highest acquisition priority and will provide a capability bridge between the Legend-class National Security Cutters (NSC), which patrols the open ocean in the most demanding maritime environments, and the Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters, which serves closer to shore.
The vessels will feature state-of-the-market technology and will replace the service’s 270-foot and 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutters, commissioned between 1964 and 1991, which are becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and operate.
Production on the first OPC, the future USCGC Argus (WMSM-915), commenced in January 2019 and the vessel was initially scheduled to be delivered by 2021. The Coast Guard has also ordered long lead-time materials for the second OPC, the future USCGC Chase (WMSM-916).