Huntington Ingalls Industries and VT Halter Marine have filed a protest over the design contract awards for the Coast Guard’s planned Offshore Patrol Cutter, according to Tuesday filings with the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
“Ingalls Shipbuilding recently received a debriefing of the Offshore Patrol Cutter evaluation and we have decided to protest the Coast Guard’s decision,” HII said in a statement provided to USNI News on Friday.
“Ingalls Shipbuilding offered the Coast Guard a strong, fully compliant proposal to provide a very capable, cost effective offshore patrol cutter design and believe our protest has merit.”
Representatives from VT Halter Marine did not respond immediately to a USNI News request for comment.
Work will now stop on the design of the OPC pending the resolution of the two protests. Under GAO rules, resolutions take 100 days from the time of the protest before the office makes a resolution. Based on the date of the Feb. 25 filings, the decision could come in June.
Earlier this month, the service awarded $65 million in design contracts to three shipbuilders — Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, La., Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City, Fla. and General Dynamics, Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Bath, Maine.
The service plans to select the final hull design following an 18-month evaluation period.
Construction for the 25 ships could be worth up to $11 billion dollars.
The ships will replace the current Famous and Reliance class cutters that have been in the service for several decades.
On Wednesday outgoing commandant Adm. Robert Papp stressed the importance for the future of the Coast Guard in his final State of the Coast Guard address.
“The offshore patrol cutter is the most important — not just shipbuilding — but the most important acquisition program that the Coast guard has done in its history,” Papp told reporters following the address on Wednesday.