The US Navy has issued a formal request for proposals for the design and construction of a new cable-laying ship as part of the service’s T-ARC cable ship replacement program.
The program is aimed at replacing the navy’s only undersea cable installation and repair ship, USNS ZEUS (T-ARC 7).
The ship’s primary mission will be to transport, install, retrieve, and repair undersea cables and equipment, with additional missions of conducting acoustic, hydrographic and bathymetric surveys, towing projectors, and deploying and recovering UUVs and packages through the moonpool.
Interested parties will have to submit their proposals by August 31, 2020.
According to the RFP, the navy is looking to identify cost effective design solutions by leveraging commercial designs and shipbuilder experience and standards. The navy expects to have the ship built for no more than $340 million, excluding non-recurring engineering and profit.
Companies are encouraged to place emphasis on the use of commercially available, non-developmental and proven technologies, while component commonality with other Military Sealift Command ships is desirable.
Built by General Dynamics NASSCO in 1982, the USNS Zeus can lay up to 1,000 miles of cable in depths up to 9,000 feet (304.8 meters) during a single deployment before having to restock its cable supply. The ship is operated by the US Military Sealift Command.
More details on the RFP can be found here