OCTOBER 6, 2016 —The U.S. Coast Guard moved forward with the offshore patrol cutter acquisition yesterday by issuing a notice to proceed to the detail design and construction phase (Phase II). The notice authorizes the contractor, Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc. of Panama City, Florida, to begin detail design work.
Interestingly, issuance of the notice to proceed means that neither of the two other finalists for the OPC contract — GD Bath Iron Works and Bollinger Shipyards — filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office within the required 10 days from announcement of the award. In an earlier bidding round, the three finalists could not move ahead with preliminary and contract design (P&CD) until after GAO had rejected protests that had been filed by Huntington Ingalls Industries and VT Halter Marine.
Had BIW or Bollinger filed a protest, the amounts of their bids would have been made public.
The full Phase II award (valued at $110.29 million and with apotential value of $2.38 billion) includes options for production of the lead OPC and up to eight follow-on cutters.The Coast Guard plans to acquire 25 OPCs.
The OPC project resident office (PRO), established earlier this year at the service's headquarters in Washington, D.C., will move to facilities located at the contractor's shipyard following their completion this winter. The OPC PRO is staffed with Coast Guard personnel who will oversee construction and provide management of contract execution for the OPC acquisition.
The OPCs will replace the 270-foot and 210-foot medium endurance fleet, which have been in service for 30 to 50 years. The ships will bridge the capabilities between the national security cutter, which patrols the open ocean, and the fast response cutter, which serves closer to shore.