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Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter B (FRC-B) - Background

The Coast Guard has a critical need for additional patrol boats to close an existing patrol boat operational hour gap and to replace the aging legacy 110-foot patrol boat fleet. This project is to procure these additional patrol boats as soon as possible.

The Coast Guard was conceived in 1787, when America's first secretary of the treasury, Alexander Hamilton, wrote "a few armed vessels, judiciously stationed at entrances to our ports, might at a small expense be made useful sentinels of our laws." The Fast Response Cutter (FRC), a new generation of Coast Guard patrol boats, will continue the Coast Guard's long history of protecting America's citizens, assets and interests at home and abroad. The first FRC will be named the Coast Guard Cutter SENTINEL, with the official class designation as the SENTINEL class.

Regarding performance, there were some key differences in the FRC-B, as outlined in the RFP, compared with the requirements for the FRC-A. One difference is speed-the Coast Guard lowered the minimum requirement for sprint speed from 30 knots for the FRC-A to 28 for the FRC-B -- this represented a reversion to the "pre 9/11" requirement. Another pertains to onboard small boat launch-and-recovery mechanisms: the initial design for the FRC-A included a stern ramp launch. This capability is not required on the FRC-B. However, Coast Guard officials expressed a preference for the stern ramp launch and recovery system because it would be safer and require fewer crew to operate than a manual alternative. Coast Guard officials said that eliminating these design requirements would ensure more competition on the open market and meet their urgent need for patrol boats.

When the Coast Guard stopped the conversion of additional Island Class 123-foot Patrol Boat (WPB) in 2006, they charged ICGS with designing a new patrol boat - on an accelerated basis. They chose to use composite materials - which are more expensive to build than traditional metal structures - but which they hoped would decrease long-term maintenance costs and drydocking and increase the useful life of the cutter. After it was designed, a ship model was built, and the model was tested at the Navy's testing center at Carderock. The new patrol boat design had all types of problems - such as when it made a sharp turn - the propellers came out of the water. The Coast Guard told the contractor to terminate any further design work on a new design for a patrol boat.

By early 2007 the Coast Guard had spent approximately $94 million dollars to:

  • Lengthen the original 110 foot patrol boats
  • Repair the 8 patrol boats that were altered
  • Design a composite patrol boat - that failed tank tests at the and model testing.

The legacy 110 foot patrol boats are having an increasing rate of problems that are decreasing patrol hours. Therefore, the Coast Guard published a solicitation to buy a design for a new patrol boat - they hope to buy an existing, proven, design. They are currently evaluating the responses to this solicitation.

The Coast Guard's plan in 2006 was to:

  • Build at least 12 patrol boats (now called the Fast Response Cutters (FRC-B)) using an international design that they buy. They hope to have these vessels operational in 2010. The FRC-B acquisition strategy includes procuring patrol boats based on an existing, proven design (Parent Craft). The Parent Craft is required to have been previously operated as a patrol craft in unrestricted service for a minimum of two years, or six years if only a single Parent Craft exists. Utilizing a proven design will reduce the time and cost required to design and develop the cutter.
  • Have ICGS restart designing a new patrol boat (FRC-A) using composite materials. They would purchase approximately 46 of the composite patrol boats.

The Coast Guard issued a Request for Information in April 2006 as part of the B-class strategy to obtain information on available, proven patrol boat designs that could potentially meet the requirements for the FRC-B Replacement Patrol Boat. Based on review of 27 designs submitted by 19 firms under this RFI, the Coast Guard determined that the existing patrol boat market could meet top level FRC-B requirements with minimal design modifications.

In order to acquire an FRC-B as expeditiously as possible, the Coast Guard issued a Request for Proposal for the design of the cutter to Integrated Coast Guard Systems in November 2006. ICGS issued a Broad Industry Announcement and RFP for the design of the FRC-B. Parent Craft design, management, technical and administrative proposals were due November 19, 2007. Price proposals were due December 4, 2007. The ICGS RFP period closed January 31, 2007. Coast Guard leadership also subsequently announced the service would ask ICGS to hold a competition for production of the chosen design.

Interim briefings on the progress of the design proposal, as well as projection by ICGS that the additional requirement to compete production of the FRC-B would add up to a year to its delivery schedule, led Coast Guard leadership to consider alternate methods of acquiring the patrol boats.

Adm. Thad Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard, signed a decision memorandum March 14, 2007, approving the Deepwater program executive officer's recommendation to terminate the current FRC-B acquisition with ICGS and reassign the acquisition to the Coast Guard's Acquisition Directorate. The goal of this action was to ensure full and open competition, meet basic mission requirements/desired performance characteristics, control costs and deliver a patrol boat in the shortest time possible to reduce the Coast Guard's patrol boat gap.

This action was based on the Coast Guard's ongoing commitment to improving program management to achieve best value for taxpayers and the government. Analysis by the Coast Guard indicates an organic Coast Guard acquisition of the FRC-B is likely to produce a high-performing patrol boat at less cost and in less time than pursuing the acquisition through ICGS. The Acquisition Directorate's strategy to use a "parent craft" design based on a proven, in-service patrol boat will reduce technical risk and design development time. In addition, design and production efforts will be combined into one competitive RFP, thus saving time over separate design and production RFPs.

The Parent Craft shall have been previously designed, built, and operated as a patrol craft in unrestricted service. Craft originally designed and built for other service, which have been successfully modified for patrol service, and have operated successfully in patrol service, are acceptable. Craft designed and built for other than patrol service, but as yet unproven in patrol service are not acceptable. Patrol service shall mean (1) the craft incorporates accommodations, armament, electronics, and communications equipment similar to existing Coast Guard patrol cutters and/or the FRC-B COR; and (2) that the craft has operated in search and rescue, enforcement of laws and treaties, and/or military service.

A minimum of two such craft shall have been designed and built and one of these craft shall be designated the Parent Craft. The Parent Craft shall have operated in offshore patrol service for a minimum of two years. As an alternative, if only a single such craft proposed as a Parent Craft exists, it shall have operated in offshore patrol service for a minimum of six years. The FRC-B full load displacement shall not vary by more than 10% from the Parent Craft full load displacement. The FRC-B longitudinal center of gravity (LCG) at full load displacement shall not vary by more than 1% of the length on the waterline from the Parent Craft LCG at full load.

The Coast Guard expected to issue the RFP for the design and production of the FRC-B in May 2007, with the first of 12 boats scheduled for delivery in Spring 2010. To meet the current urgent need for patrol boat capability, the Coast Guard has established a required delivery of the first cutter no later than 2010. The remainder of the first 12 cutters will be delivered by 2012. The Request for Proposals had options that allowed for the acquisition of up to 34 cutters.

The United States Coast Guard Headquarters Acquisition Directorate intended to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the design, construction and delivery of a Fast Response Cutter B Class (FRC-B), with options for the construction and delivery of up to 57 more. The RFP was expected to be released on or about 22 June 2007. The delivery schedule requires the lead cutter to be delivered 730 days after contract award.

Option Period One begins 90 days after contract award and expires on September 30, 2009 for CLIN 0008 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) FRC-B. Option Period Two begins on October 1, 2009 and expires September 30, 2010. The Coast Guard has the option to either order four FRC-B (CLIN 0013) or six FRC-B (CLIN 0014) during this option period. Option Period Three begins on October 1, 2010 and expires September 30, 2011. The Coast Guard has the option to either order four FRC-B (CLIN 0017) or six FRC-B (CLIN 0018) during this option period. Option Period Four begins on October 1, 2011 and expires September 30, 2012. The Coast Guard has the option to either order four FRC-B (CLIN 0021) or six FRC-B (CLIN 0022) during this option period. Option Period Five begins on October 1, 2012 and expires September 30, 2013. The Coast Guard has the option to either order four FRC-B (CLIN 0025) or six FRC-B (CLIN 0026) during this option period. Option Period Six begins on October 1, 2013 and expires September 30, 2014. The Coast Guard has the option to either order four FRC-B (CLIN 0029) or six FRC-B (CLIN 0030) during this option period.

On 7 September 2007 the US Coast Guard announced changes to the Fast Response Cutter B Class (FRC-B) Request for Proposal. Amendment to change lot sizes of all optional Construction Contract Line Item Numbers (CLINS) to:
OPTION: One lot of 3 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Fast Response Cutters B-Class
OPTION: One lot of 6 Fast Response Cutters B-Class
OPTION: One lot of 4 Fast Response Cutters B-Class
OPTION: One lot of 6 Fast Response Cutters B-Class
OPTION: One lot of 4 Fast Response Cutters B-Class
OPTION: One lot of 6 Fast Response Cutters B-Class
OPTION: One lot of 4 Fast Response Cutters B-Class
OPTION: One lot of 6 Fast Response Cutters B-Class
OPTION: One lot of 4 Fast Response Cutters B-Class
OPTION: One lot of 6 Fast Response Cutters B-Class
OPTION: One lot of 4 Fast Response Cutters B-Class
(Affected Construction CLINS are 8, 9, and 14 through 33)

It was anticipated that CLINS 23 through 33 will be deleted. Associated CLINS, Section H.10 (EXERCISE OF OPTIONS) and other RFP sections affected by this change were also amended. As a result of the forthcoming amendment, the Coast Guard anticipated obtaining between twenty-four and thirty-four Fast Response Cutters B-Class (one lead cutter, three optional Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) cutters, and up to thirty optional Full Rate Production cutters) under the subject contract over a 5 to 7 year period.

The first FRC was to be delivered in late fiscal year 2009, at the earliest, rather than in fiscal year 2007 as outlined in the 2005 Deepwater Revised Implementation Plan.

Bath Iron Works expected to bid on construction contracts for the fast-response cutter. The fast-response cutter contract would provide the shipyard with work to fill a gap between building the last Arleigh Burke destroyer and starting a new-generation destroyer in the DDG 1000 Zumwalt class.

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Page last modified: 08-04-2012 13:24:13 ZULU