Navy publishes common hull RFI ahead of legislation that would push development

By Justin Katz  
May 9, 2018 at 3:09 PM

The Navy is seeking information from industry about a common hull configuration for military cargo ships as the House Armed Services Committee moves to maintain pressure on the service to advance the platform's development.

Naval Sea Systems Command plans to hold an industry day May 23 about the Common Hull Auxiliary Multi-Mission Platform, also called CHAMP, and is seeking information from sources capable of building ships with certain notional characteristics, according to a May 7 Federal Business Opportunities notice.

Today, the House Armed Services Committee passed provisions to the fiscal year 2019 defense policy bill that would tie the development of the common hull into part of Military Sealift Command's budget and future Navy acquisitions. The bill is being marked up by the full committee today and will await a vote on the House floor.

One provision fences off 25 percent of Military Sealift Command's FY-19 budget until the Navy completes its capability development documents for CHAMP. The common hull design is a key part of the Navy's plan to recapitalize its surge sealift fleet by replacing "aging mission specific sealift and auxiliary designs to reduce life cycle costs, leverage reconfigurable force packages and stabilize the industrial base," according to the FBO notice.

The legislation further stipulates that the Navy could not enter into a contract for two used vessels -- a separate requirement fencing MSC's budget -- until CHAMP's capability development document is completed.

Some of the ship characteristics the Navy is interested in include a total roll-on/roll-off area of 200,000 to 400,000 square feet and an arrangeable enclosed deck area with 150,000 to 300,000 square feet. Deck area requirements are important because the surge sealift fleet's mission is to transport Army and Marine Corps ground operations equipment.

"Additional potential missions [for the common hull] include: sealift, aviation intermediate maintenance support, medical services, command and control and submarine tending," the FBO notice said.