There is a bit of news on some of our smaller vessels.
The November 2008 issue of the Acquisition directorate’s newsletter included some information about planning for the replacement of the WLR/WLIC inland buoy tenders.
“We are in the process of updating propulsion, generators, steering systems, and ﬁre suppression on our WLIC ﬂeet, with similar updates for the WLRs in the future. For the long term, we have been appropriated funds by Congress in the ﬁscal year 2009 budget to initiate a WLR/WLIC replacement project, which we’re calling the “Heartland Waterway Vessel (HWV) Project”. The sponsor in CG-7 and the ATON Program Manager in CG-5 are jointly developing the requirements for the HWV. The ﬁnal form of the HWV depends upon completion of the requirements development process and an alternative analysis, but the HWV may very well take the form of a WLR-like tug and barge but with enhanced C4I capabilities plus a high-speed, multi-mission cutter boat. The good news is this effort has the necessary highest-level support and momentum for the ﬁrst time in recent history.”
I did a little follow-up, and with the help of MCPO Brett F. Ayer, who is master chief for the Acquisitions Directorate, I contacted Ms. Maureen Schumann,Director of Communications, Assistant Commandant for Acquisition (CG-9), and she was good enough to answer some questions:
Q: …was wondering about the current status of the WLR/WLIC refurbishment and replacement program. Could you provide an update that I can share with our readers?
A: In FY09, we were appropriated funds to begin the Inland Rivertender Recapitalization Project (former Heartland Waterway Vessel Project). Since that time, we have completed the necessary mission analysis reports and drafted the mission needs statements.
Q: Is there a plan for replacement of the 65 ft WYTL harbor tugs? Are they part of the HWV program?
A: There are currently no plans to replace the 65′ WYTL harbor Tugs and they are not part of the WLIC-WLR Recapitalization Program.
Q: Have we begun planning replacements for the 140 ft WTGBs? (I know they are newer than a lot of our vessels but they are hitting the 30 year mark.)
A: There are currently no plans to replace the 140′ WTGBs. However, we are in the process of standing up a 10-year Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) for this fleet. The 140'WTGB SLEP is tentatively set to begin in late 2013.
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I did ask some follow up questions of Ms. Schumann regarding the future of the Inland Rivertender Recapitalization Project. “Are we preparing a preliminary design? When do we expect to award contracts? Will we be replacing units on a one for one basis? Will there be more than one class?”
Her answer indicates that we are still at an early stage in the process, “…we are currently focusing on the requirements documents per the Major Systems Acquisition process. We haven’t yet reached the point where we will be looking at the specific make-up of a replacement Inland River/Construction Tender fleet.”
All I can say is: About time!
I’m very familiar with this class of vessel (WLR/WLIC), and they are rather long in the tooth. We’ll see what develops I suppose.
I wonder if the “high speed multi-mission” boat that they’re looing at adding means that they intend for the personnel on the inland cutters to get more involved with law enforcement, search and rescue, and similar missions?
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