COAST GUARD $17 BILLION CONTRACT TO LOCKHEED MARTIN, NORTHROP GRUMMAN
The U.S. Coast Guard announced late Tuesday that it has awarded Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman a $16.95-billion contract to modernize its aging fleet of vessels and planes.
The so-called Integrated Deepwater System Program includes the acquisition of up to 91 ships, 35 planes, 34 helicopters, and 76 unmanned surveillance planes, in addition to an upgrade of 49 existing cutters and 93 helicopters.
This is the first time that the Coast Guard has “bundled” procurement of several types of ships, planes and other equipment into an “integrated procurement program.”
“The Deepwater Program will ensure that the Coast Guard continues to guarantee the nation’s maritime security,” said Transportation Department Deputy Secretary Michael P. Jackson. “As America’s first line of defense for maritime homeland security, it is critical that the Coast Guard be able to identify and intercept targets of interest as far from U.S. shores as possible.”
The competition for the Coast Guard modernization contract lasted several years, but the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 pushed the contract faster to completion, Jackson said.
Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have dubbed the contract the “Integrated Coast Guard Systems Joint Venture.” Both companies have worked together on other government and military contracts, such as the Joint Strike Fighter development program.
Ronald D. Sugar, president and chief operating officer of Northrop Grumman called the Integrated Coast Guard Systems Joint Venture “an awesome responsibility,” which Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman “will take seriously.”
The first new ships and planes will start to be delivered to the Coast Guard in the next five years, but the contract may extend up to 30 years.
Of the world's 39 navy and coast guard fleets, the U.S. Coast Guard’s vessel fleet is the 37th oldest. Some of the Coast Guard’s ships participated in World War II, but most of the cutters were built in the 1960s.