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Acquisition Update: U.S. Coast Guard Awards Multiple Contracts For Heavy Polar Icebreaker Industry Studies

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US Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker

The U.S. Coast Guard awarded five firm fixed price contracts for heavy polar icebreaker design studies and analysis Feb. 22, 2017.  The studies will inform the Coast Guard’s acquisition of heavy polar icebreakers to replace the current operational  fleet that includes one heavy polar icebreaker, USCGC POLAR STAR (foreground, shown cutting a channel in the Ross Sea as part of Operation Deep Freeze 2017).  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley.


The U.S. Coast Guard today awarded five firm fixed price contracts for heavy polar icebreaker design studies and analysis. The contracts were awarded to the following recipients: Bollinger Shipyards, LLC (Lockport, Louisiana); Fincantieri Marine Group, LLC (Washington, District of Columbia); General Dynamics/National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (San Diego, California); Huntington Ingalls, Inc. (Pascagoula, Mississippi); and VT Halter Marine, Inc. (Pascagoula, Mississippi).  The combined value of the awards is approximately $20 million.

The objectives of the studies are to identify design and systems approaches to reduce acquisition cost and production timelines. In addition to a requirement to develop heavy polar icebreaker designs with expected cost and schedule figures, the contracts require the awardees to examine major design cost drivers; approaches to address potential acquisition, technology, and production risks; and benefits associated with different types of production contract types.

The heavy polar icebreaker integrated program office, staffed by Coast Guard and U.S. Navy personnel, will use the results of the studies to refine and validate the draft heavy polar icebreaker system specifications. The use of design studies is an acquisition best practice influenced by the Navy’s acquisition experience with the Landing Craft, Utility (LCU) amphibious transport ship and T-AO(X) fleet oiler, which are being acquired under accelerated acquisition schedules.

“These contracts will provide invaluable data and insight as we seek to meet schedule and affordability objectives,” said Rear Adm. Michael Haycock, the Coast Guard’s Director of Acquisition Programs and Program Executive Officer.  “Our nation has an urgent need for heavy polar icebreaking capability.  We formed an integrated program office with the Navy to take advantage of their shipbuilding experience.  This puts us in the best possible position to succeed in this important endeavor."

"The Navy is committed to the success of the heavy icebreaker program and is working collaboratively with our Coast Guard counterparts to develop a robust acquisition strategy that drives affordability and competition, while strengthening the industrial base,” said Mr. Jay Stefany, Executive Director, Amphibious, Auxiliary and Sealift Office, Program Executive Office, Ships.  “Our ability to engage early with our industry partners will be critical to delivering this capability to our nation."

The studies are expected to take twelve months to complete, with study results provided incrementally during that time. The Coast Guard plans to release a draft request for proposals (RFP) for detail design and construction by the end of fiscal year 2017, followed by release of the final RFP in fiscal year 2018. The Integrated Program Office plans to award a single contract for design and construction of the lead heavy polar icebreaker in fiscal year 2019, subject to appropriations.

For more information: Polar Icebreaker program page