The Integrated Deepwater System Program (IDS Program or Deepwater) is the 25-year program to recapitalize the United States Coast Guard's equipment, including aircraft, ships, and logistics and command and control systems. The $24 billion program includes equipment that will be used across all missions.
When the program is complete, the interoperable system will include new cutters and small boats, a new fleet of fixed-wing aircraft, a combination of new and upgraded helicopters, and land- and cutter-based unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). All of these assets will be linked with Command, Control, Communications and Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems. Performance Based Logistics is also an aspect of the contract.
In 1993, the Commandant's Office of Operations formally acknowledged that the Coast Guard needed a long-term strategy to recapitalize its inventory of 93 cutters, 206 aircraft, and supporting systems. In 1998 the Coast Guard issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for industry teams to bid in proposal a package of assets and systems to meet an identified set of Coast Guard mission requirements. This unique "performance-based approach" to modernization and replacement of the Coast Guard deepwater fleet was competitively bid on by three teams: One led by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), one led by Boeing, and one led by Integrated Coast Guard Systems LLC, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman established in June 2001 and jointly owned and fully guaranteed by both companies. On June 25, 2002, the Coast Guard awarded the base-term agreement of the then 20-year, $17 billion Deepwater contract to Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS).
During the first three years of the initial five-year contract the Coast Guard re-baselined the Deepwater program in July 2005, expanding requirements due to post-9/11 mission needs, which expanded the program to 25 years and a total of $24 billion.
Integrated Coast Guard Systems has participated in joint Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) with the Coast Guard since the inception of the Deepwater program. Oversight of contractor performance by the government is largely non-existent, due to contract language developed by the contractor. A major performance metric was IPT meeting attendance.
ICGS subcontracts with more than 600 suppliers in 41 states, as well as manufacturers from around the world.
The new class of NSCs will carry an MK 110 57 mm gun and will be equipped with a stern launch ramp for launch and recovery of the Short Range Prosecutor (SRP) and the Long Range Interceptor (LRI). They will also be equipped with a state-of-the-art C4ISR suite. A contract for the third ship was issued in August 2007, but it will include structural improvements based on flaws discovered during the construction of the first two.
USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750) – The first-in-class NSC is named for Commodore Ellsworth Price Bertholf, USRCS, USCG, the first Commandant of the United States Coast Guard. The ship is being built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, Mississippi under contract from ICGS and will be complete in early 2008.
Meryl Chertoff, wife of U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, was chosen by the Coast Guard as sponsor of the first NSC. The keel laying for Bertholf took place on March 29, 2005. The ship was launched on September 29, 2006 and she was christened on November 11, 2006.
USCGC Waesche (WMSL-751) – The second Legend-class NSC is named for Commandant Russell R. Waesche who served as Commandant of the Coast Guard and was the first Coast Guard Admiral to receive four stars. The ship is currently under construction at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, Miss.
Marilla Waesche Pivonka, granddaughter of the cutter's namesake, was chosen by the Coast Guard as sponsor of the second NSC. The keel laying for the Waesche took place on September 11, 2006 and she was christened on July 26, 2008.
USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752) - The third NSC is named for Captain Dorothy C. Stratton who was the director of the SPARS, the Coast Guard's Women's Reserve established during World War II. The ship began construction on July 21, 2008 in Pascagoula, Miss.
Also known as the CN-235, the MRS aircraft are built by EADS CASA in Seville, Spain and are being transported upon completion to Mobile, Ala. for C4ISR pallet installation by Lockheed Martin. The first MRS aircraft was delivered to the Coast Guard in December 2006. Currently there are three aircraft undergoing testing in Mobile and an additional five are in various stages of construction.
The MRS aircraft, or "Ocean Sentry", will be the eyes of the Coast Guard fleet. It features a belly-mounted radar and is equipped with improved detection capability. It will be used in search and rescue missions, international patrol missions, law enforcement, and for illegal drug interdictions.
The reengining, which began in 2004, was originally scheduled to take place during the conversion to a multi-mission cutter helicopter, equipped with airborne use of force, but was accelerated under the Deepwater program following multiple in-flight loss of power events.
The upgrade program was completed in Fall 2007.
Because of performance problems, Deepwater has been the source of congressional budget battles over its funding. For fiscal year 2006, President George W. Bush requested funding of over $900 million, but the House of Representatives approved only $500 million. In September 2005, the full Congress did approve $900 million, just short of the President's original request.
In August 2006, the inspector general in the Homeland Security Department said that the department's oversight of the program was hampered by funding limitations and lack of experience with this type of program.
As of late 2006, the cost of the program had risen to $24 billion, from the original estimate of $17 billion in 2002.
If passed, this law will complete the termination of IDS.
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