Coast Guard charts new acquisition course for cutters

The Coast Guard announced this week it has removed 12 patrol boats from its Deepwater contract held by a joint venture between Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp.

Instead, the Deepwater Fast Response Cutter-B acquisition, reportedly worth $600 million, will be put out to bid in open competition, the Coast Guard said. A request for proposals is expected in May, with delivery of the patrol boats scheduled beginning in spring 2010.

"This decision is based on the Coast Guard's ongoing commitment to improve management of the Integrated Deepwater System contract, to achieve best value for taxpayers and the government, and give Coast Guard men and women the capable assets they need to save lives, secure our maritime borders and protect the environment," said Adm. Thad Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard.

The remainder of the Deepwater Integrated Systems contract with Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Md., and Northrop Grumman of Los Angeles is not affected, Allen said.

The decision to reassign the patrol boat acquisition is intended to control costs and meet mission requirements quickly. The anticipated contract will be fixed-price based on an existing, in-service proven patrol boat design requiring only minimal modifications, the Coast Guard said. The acquisition strategy was determined after design work on another patrol craft in Deepwater was suspended in early 2006 due to technical risk.

The Fast Response Cutter is the smallest of the three major classes of cutters included in the $24 billion, 25-year Deepwater plan for progressive modernization and replacement of the Coast Guard fleet.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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