Waterways Commerce Cutters (WCC)

In 2023, Birdon was awarded a $1.187 Billion contract to design and build 27 Waterways Commerce Cutters (WCC) for the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).

The WCC contract is comprised of two separate but related vessel designs: the Rivery Buoy Tender (WLR) and the Inland Construction Tender (WLIC). Both variants are complex, modern, and designed to military standards. The new cutter design is expected to provide up to 11 days of accommodation and habitability for up to 19 crew members. The 27 vessels will be constructed within a 10-year period commencing with an 18-month design finalization period.

The WCC vessels are essential to maintain and protect the U.S. Intra-coastal and Inland Marine Transportation System. An estimated 630 million tons of cargo is transported through this vital 12,000-mile system of commercially active inland waterways, accounting for more than $5.4 trillion annually and supporting 30.7 million jobs for the U.S. economy. To support the safe and efficient flow of economic activity along these U.S. rivers, lakes, intercoastal waterways and harbors, WCCs establish and maintain over 28,000 inland Federal Aids to Navigation (ATON). WCCs also fulfill critical missions, including search and rescue (SAR), marine safety, marine environmental protection, and security for ports, waterways, and coastal areas

Project US Army M30 Bridge Erection Boat (BEB)

The Bridge Erection Boat (BEB) project being delivered by Birdon is a U.S. Army series vessel production program requiring all the contractual, reporting and implementation disciplines of complex federal business. The contract also includes the provision of a full integrated logistics support package.

As the prime contractor for this ACAT II program, Birdon has designed, developed, manufactured and supported the BEB program as a US Army Program of Record since the award of the original firm fixed price, competitive contract in 2013.  The statement of work for this program includes the acquisition of M30 BEBs, crew protection kits, spare parts provisions, special tools and test equipment, development of a comprehensive technical data pack, technical field service, delivery and de-processing, and on-site operator and maintainer training.

Production of the BEB in Birdon’s Denver facility has peaked at seven vessels per month with a boat coming off the production line every 3 business days.  Due to our strict configuration management, quality and parts kitting controls, every BEB is identical. All vessels undergo full quality and acceptance tests by Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) and the end-user. Since contract award in 2013, Birdon has achieved a 100% on time delivery record and has received the highest possible Customer Performance Assessment Reviews (CPARS) ratings of “Exceptional” for the three key measurements of Quality, Schedule, and Management.

Project US Coast Guard 47' Motor LifeBoat Service Life Extension Project (MLB SLEP)

In 2019, Birdon was awarded the contract to perform a 20 year service life extension for 107 47’ US Coast Guard Motor Life Boats. The MLB SLEP includes complex hull and deck changes, complete replacement of the propulsion, steering, air conditioning, electronics, bridge, tow-line reels, and lighting systems. These upgrades enhance much of the original vessel’s requirements, while ensuring that the fundamental extreme operating capability of the vessel is not compromised. Logistics support provided by Birdon includes operator and maintainer technical manuals, development of a full technical data pack, warranty support, spares and inventory management, as well as US Coast Guard training.   Careful weight and center of gravity management is a critical component of this program and, in support of this, Birdon designed and manufactured a custom Weight and Center of Gravity Measurement Cradle (WCMC).  The program includes comprehensive First Article and User testing events in extreme environments on both coasts. 

Birdon was awarded this project due to its low-risk, value-for-money offer, and we have successfully implemented this complex program through a detailed Integrated Team approach.  Birdon has developed full rate production capabilities on both the East and West coasts.  We have also applied the same serial production and quality processes from the BEB project to this USCG MLB Project.   

Project Turkish Defense Contractor FNSS Marine Assault Vehicle (MAV) ZAHA

In 2012 Birdon, through its subsidiary NAMJet, began development of an axial flow high-thrust low-speed pod type waterjet – specifically designed to meet the marine propulsion needs of tracked Armored Amphibious Vehicles (AAV) with displacement type hulls. The waterjet was designed as a direct replacement for the existing US Military legacy vehicle waterjet to eliminate vehicle modification. The objective was to increase total thrust generation to produce higher vehicle in-water speeds. Eleven AAVs were retrofitted with the NAMJet 431 PODJet and testing validated a notable 30% increase in top water speed over the legacy vehicle’s traditional mixed-flow waterjet. Two waterjets are required for every AAV.

Due to the success of the US Military AAV waterjet upgrade FNSS, a Turkish based defense contractor, began ordering NAMJet 431 PODJets in 2018 and to date have ordered 96 waterjets for their new ZAHA model of an Marine Assault Vehicle (MAV). The ZAHA has a gross vehicle weight of 30 metric tons and with the NAMJet high-thrust pod waterjet achieves a top water speed of 7 knots. The use of waterjets allows the ZAHA to be launched from the well decks of Landing Platform Dock (LPD) mother ships to quickly transport troops from long distances offshore even in high sea state conditions. The waterjet propulsion system provides superior maneuverability through challenging surf zone conditions enabling the vehicle to safely establish beachheads completing difficult amphibious assault missions. Once on land, wet gap crossings, even in extreme river or lake conditions are easily traversed because of the high efficiency of the NAMJet waterjet propulsion system enabling a total battlefield solution. 

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