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Coast Guard inducts five motor lifeboats into Service Life Extension Program

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47-foot motor lifeboat

Motor lifeboats often must navigate rough seas, so replacement of areas of the hull and structure that have demonstrated high failures rates is part of the Service Life Extension Program. U.S. Coast Guard photo.


The Coast Guard modified its order with Birdon America Inc. of Denver, Colorado, to induct five additional 47-foot motor lifeboats (MLBs) into a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) under an existing indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract, Sept. 17. This modification adds $8.6 million to the current order, bringing it to a total value of $10.8 million.

The service’s fleet of more than 117 MLBs has been in service for 15 to 21 years and is approaching the end of its planned 25-year service life. The SLEP will extend the MLB’s service life by 20 years. At least 107 boats will receive service life extensions through this program.

The main work will address systems experiencing technical obsolescence: the main propulsion, electrical, steering, towing and navigation systems, as well as replacement of areas of the hull and structure that have demonstrated high failure rates. Additionally, efforts to enhance human system integration will be made where practical. The original operational capabilities and characteristics of the MLB will not change.

The total potential value of the contract is approximately $203 million over 10 years.

The 47-foot MLB is the Coast Guard’s primary search and rescue platform operating in surf and heavy weather conditions. It has self-righting capability and the ability to operate in winds up to 50 knots, seas up to 30 feet and surf up to 20 feet. The operational need for these unique capabilities in search and rescue, maritime law enforcement and contingency response remains high.

For more information: In-Service Vessel Sustainment Program and Boat Acquisition Program pages


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