Navy issues RFI for floating dry docks, aims at Virginia Block V subs, Hawaii shipyard

By Justin Katz  
November 5, 2019 at 12:03 PM

The Navy yesterday issued another solicitation seeking information about floating dry docks and is now interested in a facility to accommodate the next block of Virginia-class submarines at the service's Hawaii public shipyard.

The Navy "is interested in understanding if floating dry docks are a viable and cost-effective alternative to graving docks for conducting docking evolutions to support maintenance of nuclear submarines of all classes at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard," according to the Nov. 4 request for information.

A similar solicitation published in August sought information about floating dry docks for aircraft carrier and nuclear submarine maintenance availabilities. The RFI said the potential facility would have to accommodate a Gerald Ford-class aircraft carrier but did not say where the dry dock might be located.

Both solicitations were issued by the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan program office, an organization stood up earlier this year and charged with executing the Navy's $21 billion, 20-year plan to recapitalize the four public shipyards.

The newer solicitation says the service wants a procurement cost based on a floating dry dock design for Block V Virginia-class submarines that incorporate the Virginia Payload Module, an 84-foot-long, mid-body section that allows the submarine to carry additional Tomahawk missiles.

"Production flow analyses are now in progress to define efficient production processes for submarine availabilities," according to the solicitation.

"The concept is to perform 80% of the tasks in a production facility and reduce the excessive workforce movement. The floating dry dock production facility will provide management offices, workforce comfort areas, shop areas, crane service and supporting services," the RFI continues.