Bollinger Shipyards of Lockport, Louisiana is one of three shipbuilders selected by the U.S. Coast Guard for the design phase of the $12 billion Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) program.
The two other shipyards selected are General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine and Eastern Shipbuilding of Panama City, Fl. The three beat out other shipbuilders competing for the contract, including Huntington Ingalls Industries and Vigor with their radical (at least by U.S. standards) Ulstein X-Bow design.
The first phase (Phase I) of the program consists of the preliminary and contract design (P&CD). The second phase (Phase II) will only be awarded to a single shipbuilder and consists of the detailed design and construction (DD&C) contract, consisting of the lead OPC with potential options to build up to 10 additional cutters. In total, the Coast Guard has stated a need for up to 25 total OPCs.
Bollinger says their Offshore Patrol Cutter will bridge the capability gap between the Fast Response Cutter (FRC) that are presently being built by Bollinger, and the National Security Cutter (NSC), adding that the next-generation cutter will complement the Coast Guard’s current and future fleet to extend the service’s operational capabilities.
The Offshore Patrol Cutters are to feature increased range and endurance, a larger flight deck, and improved interoperability, and will accommodate rotary wing aircraft and small boat operations in all weather. The OPC will be designed to carry out the congressionally mandated missions of the Medium Endurance Cutters (WMEC).
For Phase I, Bollinger will partner with Gibbs & Cox Maritime Solutions, L3 Communications, and Damen Shipyards Group and will include Naval Architecture, Design, Engineering, Production Planning, and Facility Improvement Planning.
Bollinger says that the Phase I contract will employ over 250 naval architects, engineers, designers and planners in support of developing Bollinger’s preliminary and contract design along with Bollinger’s Phase II proposal for detailed design and construction. Bollinger says if they are awarded the Phase II, it will bring thousands of jobs to South Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. The Phase II contract award is expected for 2016.
The three Phase I design contracts range in value from $21 million and $22 million.