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NAVSEA awards industry studies for new AS(X) submarine tender

Submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) arrives at Apra Harbor in Guam.The AS(X) programme is intended to deliver two new submarine tenders to replace Cable and USS Emory S. Land . (US Navy)

The US Navy (USN) awarded three concept refinement and preliminary design contracts on 4 April for studies to support the acquisition of a new class of submarine tender (AS[X]) to L3Harris Technologies, General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII).

The three contacts with options, awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), have a cumulative value of up to USD18 million.

The new AS(X)-class ships are planned to replace the USN's two ageing Emory S. Land-class submarine tenders, both of which were commissioned in 1979.

Based at Guam in the Pacific, USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) and USS Frank Cable (AS 40) provide expeditionary intermediate-level (I-level) maintenance and repairs. They also provide hotel service and logistics support to nuclear-powered guided missile and attack submarines (SSNs) deployed in the 5th Fleet and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.

The tenders provide repair and logistic services to deployed surface combatants and other ships, too. The operation of Emory S. Land and Frank Cable was transferred to the Military Sealift Command in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

Under their respective concept refinement and preliminary design contracts, L3Harris, NASSCO, and HII will develop the AS(X) ship specifications, interface specifications, ship cost estimates, and construction schedules. These will inform NAVSEA's follow-on acquisition effort.

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