US Coast issues heavy polar icebreaker RFP

The US Navy and US Coast Guard on March 2 released a request for proposal (RFP) for the advance procurement and detail design for the Coast Guard’s heavy polar icebreaker (HPIB) under an integrated program office (IPO).

The RFP has options for detail design and construction for up to three HPIBs.

A contract is scheduled to be awarded in fiscal year 2019.

On February 21, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acquisition Review Board approved the program to proceed from the analyze/select phase to the obtain phase. This achievement, similar to the Milestone B decision in the Navy’s acquisition process, is the culmination of several years of productive collaboration between the Navy and Coast Guard, regular industry engagement, and research and validation of the design and requirements.

“Today’s action marks a major milestone in the collective efforts by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy to deliver a new fleet of polar icebreakers,” The commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Paul Zukunft said. “These multimission vessels are key components of our national strategy to advance US interests and to keep pace with the growing volume of commercial activities in the polar regions. New heavy polar icebreakers are the most effective and efficient way of meeting our current and anticipated mission demands in these critical regions, and I’m ecstatic that we are moving smartly to delivery these national assets to the U.S. Coast Guard fleet.”

The Coast Guard requires at least three new heavy icebreakers to ensure continued access to both polar regions and support the country’s economic, commercial, maritime and national security needs.

The operational polar icebreaking fleet currently includes one 399-foot heavy icebreaker (Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, commissioned in 1976) and one 420-foot medium icebreaker (Coast Guard Cutter Healy, commissioned in 2000).