Halter Marine Inc. has been awarded a $981,000 contract for industrial studies for the Navy's auxiliary general ocean surveillance ship (T-AGOS(X)) program.

The Navy awarded the contract for the T-AGOS-class series of vessels, which ultimately will replace the existing fleet of four T-AGOS 19 and one T-AGOS 23 small waterplane area twin hull (SWATH) ships, which are reaching the end of their service lives. The contract is for a 12-month study to perform trade-off studies and analyses of the Navy design.

“We have designed, constructed and delivered more oceanographic research and surveillance vessels than any other single U.S. shipyard,” Bob Merchent, president and CEO of Halter Marine, said in a statement. “In fact, we finished the T-AGOS 23, named the USNS Impeccable, in 1995. For generations, Halter Marine’s shipbuilders have proudly supported our armed forces, and we are honored to continue that tradition today.”

Pascagoula, Miss.-based Halter Marine has teamed with Gibbs & Cox as the ship designer. T-AGOS has a SWATH-style design and is built to tow a surveillance towed array sensor system. The catamaran design prevents it from rolling in heavy seas. T-AGOS will be designed for a 30-year service life.

The Navy is expected to award the design detail and construction contract for T-AGOS in 2022 with estimated delivery of the first vessel in 2025. It is expected the design and construction contract will include one vessel and options for six others.

Halter Marine is an ST Engineering North America company.