The Navy will hold an industry day later this month before opening a contract competition for the design and construction of a new class of submarine tenders intended to support Virginia- and Columbia-class boats.
According to a March announcement, Naval Sea Systems Command will host the industry event on April 18 to provide an overview of the Navy’s draft requirements before launching an open contract competition in the fall for the production of up to two of the new AS(X) vessels.
The Navy’s fiscal year 2024 budget request includes $1.7 billion for the first boat in this new-start program. The budget anticipates the procurement of a second tender in FY-26 for $1.1 billion, resulting in a total of two vessels across the five-year future years defense program.
The tenders will perform intermediate-level repair, resupply, rearming and other support for forward-deployed submarines, according to budget documents. The tenders will also be capable of reloading torpedoes and Tomahawk missiles and performing radiological emergency response.
The service plans to award a contract for the first vessel in May 2024, targeting delivery in June 2031, budget justification books indicate. A contract award for the second vessel is planned for May 2026 with delivery in September 2032.
Last week, Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson indicated the company is working on a tender design under a study contract, Defense News reported. Wilkinson said this design may be based upon the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, which the company produces.
Presently, the Navy has two tenders -- Emory S. Land (AS-39) and Frank Cable (AS-40) -- which are based in Guam and perform maintenance in the Pacific. The new tenders will eventually replace these aging vessels, which have each been in service for more than 40 years.