Contract Award: $2B Antarctic Support Contract
NSF and the USAP have been an anchoring U.S. presence in Antarctica since 1956 through its active and influential scientific research program, supporting fundamental discovery research that can only be done there and studying the Antarctic and its interactions with the rest of the planet. The program goals include: understanding the region and how its ecosystems depend on the polar environment; understanding its effects on (and responses to) global processes such as climate; and using the region as a platform for fundamental research in every scientific discipline. Antarctica's remoteness and extreme climate make it a unique and natural laboratory environment.
Around this time last year KBR, CH2M Hill, and Lockheed Martin were top 3 contractors considered for the National Science Foundation contract in Antarctica on the highest, driest, coldest, windiest and emptiest place on Earth.
This contract required exceptional logistics and planning expertise. A few of the unique challenges include managing the world’s longest supply chain, building airfields on ice and snow, working in the world’s worst weather conditions, and managing remote field camps, ice-breaking research vessels and the largest research stations and laboratories on the cold continent.
The contract was to operate and maintain the United States' facilities in Antarctica which supports scientific research activities being undertaken by the United States Antarctic Program.
On 22 December 2011 the initial announcement was made to the USAP that the $ 2 Billion contract had been awarded to the Lockheed Martin Corporation. Following the announcement CH2M Hill filed a protest the next day, KBR didn't issue a statement on the matter. "CH2M Hill Antarctic Support, Inc. is disappointed with result of the NSF's selection process for the Antarctic Support Contract," the company said in a official statement but Lockheed-Martin declined to comment on the protest. CH2M Hill protest was denied eariler this year April 2012 as reported by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GOA). See Bid Protest »
Brief History: Research Program in Antarctica
Since the late 1960s the National Science Foundation (NSF) has increasingly relied on a prime private contractor to provide science support, operations and maintenance, logistics support and construction in the Antarctic.
Operation Deep Freeze, the beginning of America's current Antarctic research program, began in 1955-56 in preparation for the International Geophysical Year (IGY), and the support force at that time was the U. S. Navy. However, even then, it was recognized that private companies were better equipped to provide certain aspects of support. During the first summer at McMurdo, Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) had welders on site constructing two fuel storage tanks and a 250,000 gallon tank for aviation gasoline and a 100,000 gallon tank for diesel fuel.
As the original temporary IGY-era program evolved into the continuing research program (CARP/USARP/USAP) that it is today, the Navy remained the primary support organization except for direct assistance to scientists and their missions in the field.
Lockheed-Martin Antarctic Program
Lockheed Martin, a global security and information technology company that employs 120,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
In 2011, Lockheed Martin was selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as the prime contractor for the United States Antarctic Program (USAP). The program enables universities, research institutions and other nation’s programs to conduct valuable scientific research in the region.
Lockheed Martin is working with NSF to implement a cost-effective, streamlined infrastructure for managing elements such as work stations, medical facilities, communications, transportation, shipping, emergency response, housing, food services, science support, environmental protection, research vessels, construction projects and remote field camp support.
Lockheed Martin partners with other organizations to successfully operate and support the United States Antarctic Program, which deploys roughly 3,000 people a year to conduct research and maintain research stations and vessels. For information on these partner organizations, please click on one of the links below:
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