The Coast Guard has selected the Manitowoc Group
to build one of three Response Boat -- Medium (RB-M) test boats. These boats are the first of a class of vessels that will replace the Coast Guard's aging fleet of 41-foot Utility Boats, which have been the workhorse of coastal stations for the past 25 years.
The Coast Guard is pursuing the RB-M project using a two-phase competitive process. Three vendors were selected based on their written proposals to produce a test boat of their design. Coast Guard personnel will test each of these boats and the three vendors will subsequently bid for a full-production contract consisting of approximately 180 RB-Ms.
Delivery of each $2.5-million test boat is expected in November or early December 2003, with production of the replacement fleet spanning a six-year period.
"We are excited to be selected for this phase of the Response Boat -- Medium project," said Terry D. Growcock, Manitowoc's chairman and chief executive officer. "This project is one of the many opportunities we referred to in our first-quarter earnings release
in April and presents us with another tremendous opportunity to serve the Coast Guard's needs beyond our current buoy tender
and icebreaker projects," he explained.
The Response Boat -- Medium will perform many missions typically performed by the Coast Guard's small
boat fleet, including homeland security and search and rescue operations. The new boats will have greater maneuverability than the existing Utility Boats and will be capable of speeds of more than 40 knots (46 mph).
The boats will be equipped with a state-of-the-art navigation system, heating and air conditioning, and a communication system prescribed by the Rescue 21 project for coordinated Coast Guard missions. The system is capable of communicating with other federal, state, and local homeland security partners.