Regional Class Research Vessel (RCRV) Update Project

Table of Contents

Project Background and Task Statement

In 2001, the Federal agencies, through the Federal Oceanographic Facilities Committee (FOFC), and with input from the academic community (via UNOLS), produced a long-range Fleet plan entitled "Charting the Future for the National Academic Research Fleet." Over the next 20 years, the Plan calls for a fleet that is more capable than at present, but that has fewer vessels.  In the Plan, four classes of ships (Global, Ocean, Regional and Local) were used to describe the future fleet. Regional Class ships will continue to work in and near the continental margins and coastal zone, but with improved technology and more science berths than in current, comparably sized vessels.

Historical Documents and Activities Associated with the Planning of the new RCRV Class:
  • Regional Class Research Vessel (RCRV) - Phase I Shipbuilding program

    On 27 April 2006, contract awards were made to two companies as a result of a NAVSEA solicitation N00024-05-R-2230 for Phase I of the Regional Class Research Vessel (RCRV) shipbuilding program on behalf of (and to support) the efforts of the National Science Foundation. Phase I awards were made to Dakota Creek Industries, 820 4th St, Anacortes, WA 98221 and Nichols Brothers Shipbuilders, 5400 S. Cameron Rd, P.O. Box 580, Freeland, WA 98249.

    The RCRV program is a phased approach where Phase I is preliminary/contract design and Phase II is detail design and construction. These Phase I contracts are for a twelve month preliminary/contract design period and have a firm fixed price of approximately $1 Million each. Based on proposals submitted by the two Phase I Contractors, a single Phase II contract for detailed design and construction is anticipated to be awarded at the end of Phase I (second quarter CY2007). The Phase II contract will be for a lead ship with options for up to two more. The Regional Class Research Vessels will be modern monohull research ships capable of integrated, interdisciplinary, oceanographic research in areas from shallow coastal bays and estuaries out to deeper water.

  • Prioritization of Regional Class Science Mission Requirements

    In 2004, at the request of the National Science Foundation, UNOLS was tasked with providing relative priorities for some of the Science Mission Requirements (SMR) for new Regional Class research vessels. A report with UNOLS recommendations was requested by mid to late June 2004. A Regional Class Advisory Committee was formed to review the relevant SMR elements, seek community input and to draft a set of recommendations that would be provided to NSF by UNOLS. The report to the National Science Foundation, Division of Ocean Sciences, Integrated Facilities Section by the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) prepared by the Regional Class Advisory Committee (RCAC) and approved by the Fleet Improvement Committee and UNOLS Council, dated July 1, 2004 is titled Prioritization of Regional Class Science Mission Requirements

  • Regional Class Science Mission Requirements

    Using the FOFC characteristics as guidance, the community worked to establish Science Mission Requirements (SMRs) for the Regional Class. The SMRs were finalized in 2003 and have formed the basis for the Regional Class design effort. Read the 2003 Regional Class Science Mission Requirements.

  • RCRV Future Areas of Inquiry

In 2010, NSF tasked the UNOLS Fleet Improvement Committee to review and provide feedback on 13 "Future areas of Inquiry." NSF's Task Letter, reference documents, and FIC's response are contained below. In Response to the NSF Task letter to FIC, the Fleet Improvement Committee reviewed each RCRV Inquiry Area and provided feedback. Their response is contained in the letter from Clare Reimers to NSF dated August 30, 2010: The FIC response memo dated August 30, 2010 are only recommendations to NSF. NSF decisions on how the RCRV design will be moved forward based on those recommendations will be included as part of any future solicitation.

  1. NSF Letter to FIC dated March 25, 2010
  2. FIC Response Letter dated August 30, 2010
  3. RCRV Future Areas of Inquiry
  4. RCRV Glosten Executive Summary
  5. RCRV Glosten General Arrangement
  6. RCRV Glosten Model Test Report
  7. RCRV Glosten Radiated Noise Report
  8. RCRV Glosten Ship Specifications
  9. Underwater Radiated Noise Comparison
  10. ARRV Underwater Radiated Noise Design Limit
  11. NERC Noise Control Limits
  12. RV Hugh Sharp Surface Ship Radiated Noise Measurement

Reference Material

Project Updates, Meetings, and Documents*




January 2013


OSU was selected to finalize the design and lead the construction of the new RCRVs, click here to follow the updates