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BMT to lead industry studies for US Navy’s new cable-layer

US Navy cable laying ship USNS Zeus

Engineering consultancy BMT says it has been awarded a prime contract to carry out industry studies for the US Navy’s new T-ARC(X) cable ship program.

The contract will see BMT undertake capability and cost trade studies in key areas, investigation of options to maximize affordability and producibility, and development of a concept design.

BMT said it would work with Fincantieri Marine Group (FMG), ABB Marine & Ports, and Noise Control Engineering on this project.

The industry studies are a key step in the Navy’s recapitalization of its undersea cable installation and repair capability, as the only operational ship, USNS ZEUS (T-ARC 7), is nearly forty years old and needs to be replaced.

The service issued a request for proposals for the T-ARC(X) program in August last year, where it said it expects to have the ship built for no more than $340 million, excluding non-recurring engineering and profit.

The other two teams selected to undertake the year-long studies are led by General Dynamics NASSCO and Philly Shipyard.

The primary missions of the new ship 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.

BMT said it would develop a T-ARC(X) design that integrates its team’s portfolio of operating cable ship designs with a newly tested hull form. BMT’s approach will apply the successful methodology employed on similar industry studies performed recently. The team also integrates producibility considerations in its approach through its shipbuilding partner, FMG.

“We’re excited to continue our vessel design support to the US Navy. This award demonstrates the strength of BMT as a trusted design partner of choice, the diversity of our vessel portfolio, and our global naval architecture capabilities,” Rick Cox, vice president in BMT’s US defense business, said.