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VT Halter Marine to build Polar Security Cutter for US Coast Guard

Warship Technology:July/Aug 2019Coastguard

April 2019 saw the US Coast Guard and US Navy, through an Integrated Program Office (IPO), award VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Mississippi, a firm fixed-price incentive contract for detailed design and construction of the Coast Guard’s lead Polar Security Cutter (PSC). 


The initial award is valued at US$745.9 million and supports non-recurring engineering and detailed design of the PSC as well as procurement of long lead-time materials and construction of the first ship. The contract also includes options for the construction of two additional PSCs. If all options are exercised, the total contract value will be US$1.9 billion.


The figures of US$745.9 million and US$1.9 billion cover only the shipbuilder’s costs; they do not include the cost of government-furnished equipment (GFE), which is equipment for the ships that the government purchases and then provides to the shipbuilder for incorporation into the ship, or government program-management costs. When GFE and government programme-management costs are included, the total estimated procurement cost of the first PSC is between US$925 million and US$940 million, and the total estimated procurement cost of the three-ship PSC programme is approximately US$2.95 billion.


The contract is part of an effort to recapitalize heavy polar icebreaker capabilities. “Against the backdrop of great power competition, the PSC is key to our nation’s presence in the polar regions,” said Admiral Karl L Schultz, Commandant of the Coast Guard.


Construction on the first PSC is planned due to begin in 2021 with delivery planned for 2024, however, the contract includes financial incentives for earlier delivery.


The German icebreaker design that forms the basis of the PSC is being built as the replacement for Polarstern, Germany’s current polar research and supply icebreaker.