Britain’s New Antarctic Patrol Vessel, HMS Protector

3rd Street Promenade
The British are using unconventional means to provide for their need for a patrol vessel capable of operating in ice including patrols in the vicinity of the Falklands and supporting their Antarctic survey stations. They are taking a three year lease on an existing Norwegian vessel that has been used to support the oil industry. Additional modifications are planned including boats and weapons.
“Completed in 2001 and displacing 4,985 tons, she can act as a polar research ship or subsea support vessel, and has 100 berths.”
HMS Protector is filling an unexpected gap in their capabilities after accidental flooding almost sank the previous ice patrol vessel HMS Endurance in December 2008.

Fleet Mix–Where are the Trade-Offs?

A recent GAO report offers some insight into how the AC&I budget will work for the next few years. The report is accessible here: Coast Guard: Observations on Acquisition Management and Efforts to Reassess the Deepwater Program
GAO-11-535T, Apr 13, 2011
Quick View Quick view toggle Summary (HTML)   Highlights Page (PDF)   Full Report (PDF, 18 pages)   Accessible Text

The thrust of the report seems to be that while the coast Guard has made some progress in managing its own programs since terminating Deepwater there are still a lot of problems and many of them stem from being unrealistic about budget expectations. There also seems to be an underlying frustration because the Coast Guard is not offering real alternatives to the fleet mix proposed by the discredited “Deepwater” program.

“We reported in 2009 that the administration’s budget projections indicated that the DHS annual budget was expected to remain constant or decrease over the next decade. When the Coast Guard submitted its fiscal year 2012 budget request, it also released its fiscal years 2012-2016 acquisition capital investment plan. In reviewing this plan, we found that the Coast Guard’s projected funding levels for fiscal years 2013 through 2016 are significantly higher than budgets previously appropriated or requested and therefore may be unrealistic. This unrealistic acquisition budget planning exacerbates the challenges Coast Guard acquisition programs face. As seen in figure 2, the average annual budget plan from fiscal year 2012-through fiscal year 2016 is about $520 million, or approximately 37 percent, higher than the average Coast Guard acquisition budgets previously appropriated or requested during the past 6 years.”

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