Pascagoula, Miss. shipbuilder Halter Marine has been awarded a $149,053,160 fixed-price-incentive (firm target) modification to definitize contract number N00024-19-C-2208 for the detail design and construction of one oceanographic survey ship (T-AGS 67), the U.S. Department of Defense announced on Friday.

The shipyard has delivered the seven previous survey ships in the Pathfinder-class, the first of which, USNS Pathfinder (T-AGS-60), entered service in 1994. Today, six of the ships are still operational, including the newest ship, USNS Maury (T-AGS-66), commissioned in 2016.

Owned by the U.S. Navy, Pathfinder-class vessels are operated by Military Sealift Command (MSC) for the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO). They have mostly civilian crews, including scientists from NAVOCEANO.

Work for T-AGS 67 will be performed in Pascagoula (76%); Harahan, La. (8%); Belle Chase, La. (4.5%);  Alpharetta, Ga. (4.5%); Mathews, La. (2.3%); Axis, Ala. (2%); Houston (1.5%); and Sherwood, Ore. (1.2%), the Pentagon said.

Fiscal 2018 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $149,053,160 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity.

Pathfinder-class survey ships have three multipurpose cranes and five winches plus a variety of oceanographic equipment including multi-beam echo-sounders, towed sonars and expendable sensors. These ships are capable of carrying 34-foot hydrographic survey launches (HSL) for data collection in coastal regions with depths between 33 and 1,969 feet and in deep water to 13,000 feet. A small diesel engine is used for propulsion at towing speeds of up to 6 knots. HSLs carry SIMRAD high-frequency active hull-mounted and side scan sonars.

USNS Maury, the most recent addition to the survey ship fleet, is equipped with an 18-by-18-foot moon pool for deploying and retrieving a variety of mission systems, including autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV).

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