On February 4, 2011, the U.S. Coast Guard awarded two fixed price Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts to begin replacement of the current Response Boat-Small (RB-S) fleet, which is nearing the end of its ten-year service life. The contracts were awarded to Metal Shark Aluminum Boats of Jeanerette, La., and SAFE Boats International of Port Orchard, Wash. Under the terms of the contract, each builder will produce a minimum of one boat, based on a proven hull design, to be delivered in June of this year. The Coast Guard will test and validate each boat this summer. Based on the results of the down-select process, the Coast Guard will select one boat that provides the best overall value to the government and order additional boats from the builder of the selected design.
The maximum potential value of the contract awarded to Metal Shark Aluminum Boast is $193.1M, with a ceiling for ordering up to 500 boats. The maximum potential value of the contract awarded to SAFE Boats International is $180.1M, also with a ceiling for ordering up to 500 boats. The company not selected for additional RB-S production will only receive payment for the boat submitted for validation under this award.
Of the 500 boats expected to be procured, up to 470 will be delivered to shore units throughout the Coast Guard to perform port and waterway security, search and rescue, drug and migrant interdiction, environmental and other law enforcement missions. Up to 20 boats may be ordered by Customs and Border Protection, and ten by the U.S. Navy. The RB-S replacement is one of the largest boat buys of its type for the Coast Guard.
“Our objective is to deliver a boat that will meet or exceed the sponsor’s requirements but beyond that, a boat that our boat crews will want to drive and feel confident using as they carry out Coast Guard missions,” stated Mr. Dom Bee, the RB-S Project Manager. “As a former boat coxswain myself, I want to deliver a boat that I would want to drive myself if I were still doing that.”
The latest iteration of the RB-S will have an approximate length of 25 feet, be capable of at least 40 knots, a minimum range of 150-nautical miles and a crew of four. The new RB-S will also have a standardized communications and navigation suite as well as an increased emphasis on ergonomics and crew comfort.
The current RB-S fleet was originally procured in 2002, following the attacks of September 11, 2001. In addition to bringing a higher level of standardization to the Coast Guard’s small boat fleet, the RB-S has proven to be a tremendous asset in a wide variety of Coast Guard missions, especially ports, waterways and coastal security.