Vard Marine (VARD) and Philly Shipyard have been awarded a contract to lead a study for the US Navy Common Hull Auxiliary Multi-Mission Platform (CHAMP) program.

The CHAMP program is a multi-phase effort that involves design studies, preliminary and detail design, as well as construction (DD&C) to ultimately replace the Military Sealift Command (MSC) fleet of ageing ships that provide transport for supplies and critical support to the US forces abroad.

CHAMP would upgrade the current fleet with significant decreases in cost both in ship construction and life cycle maintenance. More than 60 vessels would benefit from the CHAMP program.

Philly Shipyard president and CEO Steinar Nerbovik said: “We are excited and grateful to team with VARD Marine and explore the design for this important program.

“Philly Shipyard has the history, facility and access to skilled labour, as well as a strong reputation for quality, which is required to develop a highly effective, mature and affordable solution to support a successful long-term recapitalisation.”

VARD Houston vice-president Darren Truelock said: “It’s an honour to be teamed with a state-of-the-art and capable world-class shipyard such as Philly. Our combined expertise is a great recipe for achieving a best-value solution for the CHAMP program.”

Philly Shipyard is one of the four US shipyards selected for the design study. The study is expected to be completed by 2022.

The shipyards will compete for the DD&C contract, with an award being granted in 2023 and acquisition process taking place over the next ten years.

There is growing support to accelerate the program and commence the acquisition process of the first vessels in as early as 2021.

VARD is a consulting naval architecture and marine engineering company with Canadian offices located in Vancouver and Ottawa and American operations located in Houston, Texas.

The company offers professional ship design, engineering and shipbuilding technology services.

Philly Shipyard is a leading US commercial shipyard, constructing vessels for operation in the Jones Act market.

It owns a state-of-the-art shipbuilding facility and has earned a reputation as the preferred provider of oceangoing merchant vessels with a track record of delivering quality ships.

The shipyard is the sole operating subsidiary of Philly Shipyard ASA.  Philly Shipyard ASA is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange and is majority-owned by Aker ASA-owned Aker Capital AS.

Aker is a Norwegian industrial investment company that creates value through active ownership. Aker’s investment portfolio focuses on key Norwegian industries that are international in scope, including oil, gas, fisheries, biotechnology and marine assets.

Aker’s industrial holdings include ownership interests in Aker Solutions, Kvaerner, Aker BP, Aker BioMarine, Ocean Yield and Akastor.

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