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Expeditionary Small Boats

Responses Due By

2022-08-22 23:59:59 US/Eastern Time

Problem Statement


The U.S. military needs expeditionary watercraft platforms (i.e., “small boats”) to conduct littoral and distributed operations capable of performing reconnaissance, sensing, and tactical maneuver and logistics support in the maritime domain. Small boats will be key to future operations within international waters and coastal/riverine zones, but current military solutions do not support anticipated needs. 

To properly integrate new military watercraft platforms and meet near-term deadlines, the Department of Defense (DoD) will require fast-paced experimentation, concept refinement, and development of new tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). Existing dual-use, commercial technology has the potential to enhance the U.S. military’s current fleet of small boats by adding new capabilities that will be defined by future concepts in the maritime domain.


The DoD seeks commercial small boat solutions that can meet initial needs for distance, speed, displacement, and maneuverability, while simultaneously limiting signature, detection, and logistical footprint. Solution(s) must be ready for a series of concept sprints, and capable of demonstrating diverse capabilities throughout contract award via limited technical prototyping and iterative updates.


An ideal solution would expand on current Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) platforms, and include additional modern features including, but not limited to: demonstrating use of alternative fuel sources and propulsion systems, improved on-board electrical output capacity and storage, intuitive operations, streamlined draft and hull design, autonomous platform integration (i.e., drone launch/recovery), signature and/or sound management, and 5G/sensor integration that matches needs for a modern reconnaissance and sensing craft.

The ability of the prototype to demonstrate simplicity, robustness and modularity across varying conditions and settings is of strong interest, to include features that enable fast, mobile, low-signature movement and sustainment of naval expeditionary forces operating across a series of austere, temporary locations. Vendors should be able to demonstrate that their solutions are informed by expertise in craft construction and support/sustainment, as well as operations in the maritime domain, littorals, and among islands/archipelagos.


Solution Attributes

The proposed solution will support development of improved small boat capabilities related to littoral maneuver and reconnaissance/counter-reconnaissance and should advance the following attributes:


       Align, generally, to small boats/craft use cases called for by distributed maritime expeditionary operations in the Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) concept.

       Integrate and enable operation of external autonomous and semi-autonomous platforms (e.g., unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles) to include launch and recovery.

       Demonstrate the ability to operate at distance, with endurance ranges at/beyond 300 nautical miles.


       Maintain high water speeds at/beyond 35 knots.

       Capacity to transit approximately 8 to 15+ combat loaded personnel, considering appropriate human factors, and have the ability for gear/storage modularity given mission needs.

       Demonstrate maneuverability and precision steering in the littorals, and over open water.

       Operate with limited signature with durable materials, while conducting movement and loitering; and

       Demonstrate reliability and maintainability features that facilitate sustained readiness and performance in austere environments.


Solution submissions could also include the following use cases and/or features:


       Integration with standard U.S. Marine Corps communications platforms/sensor suites.


       Demonstrate ability to operate or shift towards clean/alternative fuel types or electric power.


       Provide sufficient on-board power for gear and equipment, whether from primary power sources or alternative means.


       Transportable by standard military aircraft (i.e., KC-130) and existing military truck/towed trailer systems, in order to support movement to both training and operational venues.


       Demonstrate ability to integrate with global partners and allies to build interoperability.


Prototypes will be evaluated under a series of mission concept sprints, and will be scheduled following prototype contract award. The primary mission scenario sprint locations during contract execution (i.e., post-contract award) may include training areas aboard DoD bases and stations on the West, East, or Gulf Coasts, and are anticipated to be on a quarterly basis.


The planned period of performance for both prototyping and mission concept sprints is 18-24 months.


Additional information

       The Government may facilitate teaming arrangements among submissions offering complementary capabilities to achieve desired effect. Companies are also welcome to present their own teaming arrangements in their solution briefs, but each team member should provide technological capability to the solution.

       Any domestic or foreign company must be registered with System for Award Management (SAM) prior to the time of final contract award.

       In addition, international companies must demonstrate that they have the ability to conduct sales to the U.S. Department of Defense via legal protocol, meaning: any international company must obtain a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) prior to the time of final contract award.

       Vendors invited to participate in Phase II (tentatively scheduled for mid-October 2022) must be able to provide a pitch that includes the following:

o   The transport of the proposed solution to a live demonstration which is anticipated to be held in conjunction with Phase II (mid-October 2022), and on the Gulf Coast.

o   An affirmation that the vendor is capable of delivering at least a quantity of 2 of their proposed solutions by April 2023.

       If considering submitting a solution brief in response to this AOI, please be aware that the following is required if you are selected to receive an Other Transaction Award:

o   Acknowledgment of the current status of cyber security protections to meet military cyber security requirements and standards, with progressive improvements of these protections throughout the prototyping period.

o   Specifically defined warranty details and initial spares/sustainment package options that may accompany end item prototypes.

o   The ability to deliver a quantity of 2 of the proposed solutions by April 2023 and the delivery of additional prototypes by June 2023.