The U.S. Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate reports that the Coast Guard waterways commerce cutter (WCC) program released a request for proposal (RFP) on April 30 for the design and construction of its new river buoy and inland construction tenders.
The river buoy and inland construction tender acquisition will be a small business set-aside in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 19.5.
The RFP encompasses designing the river buoy tender and inland construction tender (designs which share 95% commonality), constructing an initial river buoy tender and inland construction tender based on those completed designs, and producing additional cutters. The deadline to submit responses to the RFP is July 30, 2021, at 10 a.m. Eastern standard time. Contract award is anticipated in early 2022.
On March 24, the DHS Acquisition Review Board approved the WCC program to proceed from the analyze/select phase to the obtain phase. This achievement was the culmination of several years of design analysis, industry engagement, operator input, scale-model testing and other analyses that provided valuable information on requirements, design and production schedules.
LEGACY FLEET IS APPROACHING OBSOLESCENCE
The WCC acquisition program will replace the legacy inland tender fleet, which has an average vessel age of over 55 years. The current fleet is approaching obsolescence and many of the legacy cutters do not support mixed-gender crews due to original design constraints.
The WCC program has accelerated the acquisition by approximately a year to ensure the Coast Guard continues to meet its vital missions throughout the marine transportation system.
The current inland tender fleet plays a critical role in the Coast Guard’s support of the national Marine Transportation System, which facilitates $5.4 trillion in commerce annually and sustains over 30 million jobs. The new WCCs will have greater endurance, speed and deck load capacity than their predecessors. The vessels will also feature improved habitability and will accommodate mixed-gender crews.