U.S. Coast Guard Releases Third RFI for 47-Foot Motor Lifeboat (MLB) Service Life Extension Program

The U.S. Coast Guard has released a request for information (RFI), on July 12, for the 47-foot motor lifeboat (MLB) service life extension program (SLEP) as part of its In-Service Vessel Sustainment (ISVS) effort.

The Coast Guard is providing industry with the latest draft of the statement of work and specification along with access to the majority of the MLB technical data – drawings and technical publications – while seeking industry comments before making a formal solicitation for the contract, which has an estimated value of over $100 million.

This is the third RFI for the MLB; the first was released in September 2016 and the second in November 2017.

The MLB is the Coast Guard’s primary search and rescue platform in surf and heavy weather conditions. The fleet of more than 100 MLBs is approaching the end of its planned 25-year service life, and operational availability has been limited by parts availability and obsolescence issues. The SLEP will extend the useful life of the MLB by 20 years. The original operational capabilities and characteristics of the MLB will effectively remain the same, while efforts to enhance human system integration will be made where practical.

“This RFI answers questions posed through prior industry engagement,” said Cmdr. David Obermeier, deputy program manager for boats acquisitions. “It also gives industry the opportunity to provide additional feedback on the latest draft statement of work and specification.”

The RFI can be found here. The deadline to submit responses is July 27, 2018, at 2 p.m. EST.

47-foot Motor Lifeboat

The 47-foot MLB is the standard lifeboat of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) built by Textron Marine & Land Systems. The 47′ MLB is the successor to the 44′ MLB.

The 47′ MLB is designed to weather hurricane force winds and heavy seas, capable of surviving winds up to 60 knots (110 km/h), breaking surf up to 6 m (20 ft) and impacts up to three G’s. If the boat should capsize, it self-rights in less than ten seconds with all equipment fully functional.

The boat’s hull and superstructure are constructed entirely from 5456 marine grade aluminum. Designed with a hard chineddeep “V” planing hull, the 47′ MLB exceeds its hull speed. The frame is composed of 17 vertical bulkhead frames, each of which is welded to the deck and hull, and five of which are watertight.

Employing “fly-by-wire” control systems, the boat can be operated from four different locations: two from the enclosed bridge, and two amidships from an open bridge.

Situated less than 1 ft (30 cm) above the water line are recessed retrieval wells, allowing for easier recovery of persons and jetsam, and easier boardings. A watertight survivor’s compartment is equipped for comprehensive first aid. It is situated at the combined center of rotation of the ship.

In-Service Vessel Sustainment Program

In-Service Vessel Sustainment is the Coast Guard’s strategic class-by-class evaluation of its vessels to determine what major maintenance and upgrades are necessary for them to reach or extend their service lives.

ISVS work can be classified as mission effectiveness projects (MEP), midlife maintenance availabilities (MMA) or service life extension projects (SLEP).

A cutter capital asset management plan, which lays out a system of evaluative criteria, was developed to prioritize cutter classes to be included in the ISVS program. The 140-foot icebreaking tug was identified as the highest priority; the project started in 2014 with the objective of accomplishing a 15-year service life extension of the nine-vessel fleet. A four-year project to extend the service life of Coast Guard Cutter Eagle – the Coast Guard’s sail training ship – also started in 2014. MMA work on the 225-foot seagoing buoy tenders began in July 2015.

The ISVS program is the successor of the Mission Effectiveness Project, which replaced systems on the 210-foot and 270-foot medium endurance cutters and the 110-foot Island-class patrol boats to extend their operational lives until the arrival of new national security cutters, fast response cutters and offshore patrol cutters.

All current ISVS program work is performed by the Coast Guard at the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland.

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