The Navy issued a Request for Information (RFI) on Nov. 9 to conduct market research on plans to potentially purchase 90 40-foot patrol boats, called 40PBs.

The 40PB is designed to operate day and night, in all weathers and to patrol green water littoral zones. This includes approaches to coastal waters, bays, major rivers, ports and harbours.

A 38 foot metal shark of challenge a patrol boat like the one Ukraine has ordered and is receiving in 2022. (Photo: Metal Shark)

The notice states that this craft is intended to specifically support “maritime security operations missions and tasks” such as harbor approach defense; high value unit transit escort operations; visit, advice, search and seizure (VBSS) operations and surveillance; the protection of critical infrastructures; support for amphibious operations; river operations; mine warfare support; support of on-board forces; and, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief support.

The Navy said the overall mission objective for the 40PB craft is called “presence and deterrence.”

The boats should have a cruising speed of at least 25 knots and a spring speed of over 35 knots with a crew of five. The only armament will consist of crew service weapons.

The Navy plans to award a contract to one or more 40PB builders in fiscal year 2023 for up to 90 boats to be delivered to both San Diego and Williamsburg, Virginia. According to a document attached to RFI, the schedule would start with a basic order for 21 boats in fiscal year 2023. This would be followed by options for 11 more in 24, 13 in 25, 14 in 26, 12 in 2027. and 2028 and seven in 29.

This includes up to 10 40PB for an undisclosed foreign army, split between orders for exercises 25 and 26.

The notice stated that a future contract for these boats would include construction of the aluminum hull structure, installation of machinery and electronics using a technical data package (TDP) provided by the government. with the integration of Government Furnished Equipment (GFE).

“The TDP consists of the specification and associated non-deviating and deviating drawings, test procedures, technical manuals and a GFE list,” the notice reads.

A TDP typically allows the government to award separate vendors a contract using the same design and support elements, such as multiple companies building the same type of vessel.

The notice indicates that this RFI follows a $30 million contract awarded to metal shark boats for 11 patrol boats in September 2017, which included options that could bring the value to over $90 million. This contract included the data rights for the design of the boat.

The notice pointed out that this RFI is used to identify contractors with the required expertise and capabilities who could build, integrate GFE and deliver the 40PB craft.

Responses are expected by December 9.