The U.S. Coast Guard announced the award of the Response Boat-Medium production contract valued at approximately $600 million to Marinette Marine Corporation of Marinette, Wis. Delivery of the first boat is expected in late 2007 and the Coast Guard expects to eventually purchase up to 180 boats over a period of up to eight years.
“The Response Boat-Medium will greatly improve Coast Guard readiness and responsiveness throughout the country,” said Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen. “With this faster and more capable platform, we are putting the right tool for the job in the hands of our people as they conduct a broad range of vital Coast Guard missions, including homeland security, search and rescue, and law enforcement. It's another significant step forward as we continue to prepare the Coast Guard to meet all threats and all hazards by modernizing our fleet of ships, boats, aircraft, and command and control systems.”
The Response Boat-Medium will replace the aging fleet of 41-foot utility boats and assorted non-standard boats that are in operation throughout the United States and have been the workhorse at coastal stations for more than 25 years. The new boats will have increased maneuverability, the ability to mount light machine guns, and be capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots (46 mph) with twin high output inboard diesel engines that comply with stringent EPA and International Maritime Organization emissions standards. A full cabin will provide crew protection from the elements and be equipped with a robust navigation system, heating and air conditioning, shock mitigating seats and a communication system capable of communicating with other federal, state and local homeland security partners.
The contract represents the culmination of a two-phased, competitive process that began in fiscal year 2003 when the Coast Guard awarded three contracts to vendors to provide test boats. Coast Guard members exhaustively tested these boats, and the three vendors then submitted proposals for the production contract, which were thoroughly evaluated before selecting Marinette Marine Corporation.