VT Halter Marine Inc. announced Monday that it had been selected for a preliminary/contract design for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research (AGOR) Variant (NAV).

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) announced the awards for the firm-fixed-price groups for the shallow coastal, continental shelf, and worldwide ocean survey and data collection requirements ships phase one.

The initial contract award for VT Halter Marine is $1.5 million. If successful with detailed design and best value in phase two, the value could amount to an additional estimated $150 million.

For the NAV program VT Halter assembled partners that have excellent past performance in the specific capability and technology segments relevant to the unique NAV program requirements and the NOAA science mission sets, Halter said. VT Halter has teamed with Gibbs & Cox Inc., a naval architecture and marine engineering firm, to provide NAVSEA and NOAA a design approach that will deliver efficient and multimission effective NOAA AGOR Variant (NAV) Ships.

The team’s parent design is the optimal starting point for developing a solution to accomplish the NOAA AGOR Variant’s multimission requirements specification, officials said.

“For this design we are leading a team of experts in the mission systems required for this platform and we have every confidence that our team will produce the platform to most effectively implement NOAA’s current mission and missions of the future.” Ronald Baczkowski, chief executive officer of VT Halter Marine, said in a statement.

VT Halter Marine, the marine operations of VT Systems, is based in Pascagoula, Miss.

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.