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Coast Guard Releases Request for Information to Inform Acquisition Strategy

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The Coast Guard released a request for information (RFI) Sept. 5 to gauge industry interest, capability and capacity to design and build the waterways commerce cutters (WCCs). This RFI includes updated notional requirements and will help inform the WCC acquisition strategy. The RFI can be found here.

This is the sixth RFI issued by the WCC Program. The information received in response to the RFIs, along with studies and analyses conducted by the Coast Guard’s Office of Naval Engineering Ship Design Team (SDT) and Human Systems Integration (HSI) Division as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Marine Design Center (MDC), have played important roles in enabling the WCC Program’s progress.

For the purpose of informing the WCC acquisition strategy, the Coast Guard is planning for three classes of monohull vessels, meaning self-propelled cutters instead of tug and barge combinations. This RFI focuses on the river buoy tender and inland construction tender classes. The configurations of these classes are expected to be identical except for their hull lengths, bow shapes, working deck layouts and deck equipment, including cranes designed for their mission set. There are currently 18 river buoy tenders and 13 inland construction tenders in the Coast Guard fleet.

The third ship class covers the inland buoy tending mission set, which may be acquired separately from the other two classes. There are currently four inland buoy tenders in the Coast Guard fleet.

The number of WCC classes is based on preliminary results from the program’s independent alternatives analysis (AA), conducted in collaboration with the Naval Sea Systems Command. The AA began by examining whether a monohull, tug/barge or mix of these vessel types could best meet mission needs. The Coast Guard will determine the total number of WCCs at the conclusion of the full AA.

Ensuring the WCCs’ access to their areas of operation will present significant design challenges, which vendors must have a plan to address. The WCCs will have constrained lengths, beam and draft to allow them to maneuver within shallow water, narrow channels and tight turns. The SDT has developed indicative designs and performed feasibility studies to inform the notional top-level requirements included in the RFI. The HSI Division has conducted an evaluation in which inland tender crewmembers provided input into the working deck layouts, and the MDC has also conducted trade studies to inform the requirements.

The deadline to submit responses to the RFI is Sept. 25, 2019.

For more information: Waterways Commerce Cutter program page