September 26, 2008
Bollinger awarded potential $1.5 billion FRC contract
Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. has beaten out five competitors to win an $88 million Coast Guard contract with a $1.5 billion potential. It covers the design and construction of a series of Fast Response Cutter (FRC)/Sentinel Class patrol boats.
The 153-foot cutter, which will be capable of speeds of over 28 knots, will be built at Bollinger's shipyard in Lockport, La.
The Sentinel Class will be 153 feet long, capable of speeds of 28 plus knots, and armed with one stabilized remotely-operated 25 mm chain gun and four crew-served .50-caliber machine guns. It will be able to operate independently for five days at sea and be underway for 2,500 hours per year.
The Sentinel will accommodate 22 crew members. A state-of-the-market command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) system will be fully interoperable with other Coast Guard assets as well as those of the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.
The first Sentinel will be delivered to Coast Guard District 7, based in Miami, in the fall of 2010.
It will complete a comprehensive operational test and evaluation period, and then enter operational service in the Caribbean area of responsibility.
The award announced today is a firm fixed price contract with an economic price adjustment. The approximate maximum value of this contract, if all options are exercised for a total of 34 patrol boats, is $1.5 billion over a period of between six and eight years.
The winning Bollinger design is based on a parent craft concept using a modern hull form, the Damen 4708, that was originally developed by Damen Shipyards in the Netherlands.
The Damen 4708 has conducted operations similar to those the Sentinel Class patrol boat will perform. Using a proven (or parent craft) design, will ensure that the Coast Guard receives new patrol boats capable of performing the required missions as soon as possible.
"We have had an excellent relationship with Damen for the last ten years." say Bollinger CEO and Chairman of the Board, Donald "Boysie" Bollinger. "We are currently completing another contract for the USCG, Marine Protector Class Patrol Boats, with the 75th patrol boat being delivered next year. That hull design was also based on a successful Damen design."
The Bollinger FRC measures 153 ft 5 in x 25 ft 5 in x 8 ft 5 in and is powered by two TIER II diesel engines rated at 5,760 bhp.
Providing stern launch capability is the most significant change incorporated in the Sentinel compared with the Damen 4708. The parent design has also been modified to increase flank speed from 23. 8 to 28+ knots and the Sentinel has fixed rather than controllable pitch propellers to save weight, complexity, and improve speed. It has added watertight bulkheads. The electrical system has been "Americanized" and its output increased. Interior arrangements have been reconfigured to enhance habitability, incorporate stern launch, and support increased C4ISR capability.
The Sentinel will be built to ABS High-Speed Naval Craft Guide class.
"We feel confident in the design we have chosen for the Sentinel Class," said Rear Adm. Gary T. Blore, the Coast Guard's assistant commandant for acquisition. "Providing a patrol boat that will provide superior service to the American public and be crewed by the next several generations of Coast Guard men and women is an extraordinary responsibility."
Bollinger said that the program, which is expected to last for approximately ten years, woud provide employment for approximately 500 people in the Bollinger organization if all 34 boats are built and will bring a half billion dollars worth of business to maritime suppliers.
At the peak of production Bollinger will be delivering a new cutter every eight weeks.
This is the class of cutters that up until now has been referred to as the FRC-B.
Under the Coast Guard's original Deepwater acquisition, there were to have been a fleet of 58 FRCs constructed of composite materials (later termed FRC-A's). However, that program hit a host of problems that have been all too well documented. As an alternative to the FRC-A, the Coast Guard decided to acquire a modified commercially available patrol boat, the FRC-B and assigned the acquisition to the Coast Guard's Acquisition Directorate, which issued an RFP for the new class in June 2007.
The Coast Guard says it is no longer considering composite hull technology to meet the Fast Response Cutter requirements. The lighter weight of the composite hull was supposed to give a higher speed and the Coast Guard says that while the original FRC-A requirements called for a speed of 30 knots, the requirement for the Sentinel Class patrol boat contract award is 28 knots.
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