All American Marine Inc. (AAM) has been named the West Coast shipyard by Birdon America Inc. for phase one of a contract to perform a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) on a number of the Coast Guard’s fleet of motor life boats (MLB).
AAM is currently working on two MLBs at its shop, with a plan to ramp up to eight MLB vessels each year during phase two. Birdon America was awarded the prime contract to perform SLEP work on all MLBs in the Coast Guard’s fleet.
The current in-service MLBs were designed by the USCG and built from 1997 to 2003. The 47′ MLB is the Coast Guard’s primary search-and-rescue platform operating in surf and heavy weather conditions. It has self-righting capability and the ability to operate in winds up to 50 knots, seas up to 30′, and surf up to 20′. The USCG’s need for these unique capabilities in search-and-rescue, maritime law enforcement, and contingency response is a high priority due to their effectiveness on the water.
The boats are now approaching the end of their original 25-year service lives. The goal of SLEP is to extend the 47′ MLBs’ service life for an additional 20 years and retain or exceed their original operational capabilities and characteristics.
There are 107 vessels (of 117 total) that are included in the SLEP program. AAM will be servicing the Coast Guard’s U.S. West Coast MLBs.
Birdon America developed and proposed a solution to meet the Coast Guard’s SLEP requirements and included system replacements, performance enhancements in the areas of noise, seating, and reliability and addressed structural issues.
As part of that process, Birdon was able to procure a pre-production 47′ MLB and develop the proposed systems and configurations, and conduct testing and evaluations to support its proposal. The main work will be on systems experiencing technical obsolescence: the main propulsion, electrical, steering, towing and navigation systems, as well as replacement of areas of the hull and structure that have demonstrated high failure rates.
Additionally, efforts to enhance human system integration will be made where practical to do so. The original operational capabilities and characteristics of the 47′ MLB will not change.
Birdon America is also the designer and manufacturer of the U.S. Army Bridge Erection Boat (BEB). One hundred and forty BEBs have been delivered to date. Ongoing production in the Denver facility will deliver over 300 additional boats in the next five years.