Military Sealift Command, November 23, 1999 - The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command awarded a historic $20.3 million three-year fixed price contract with an additional $10.9 million two-year option to Geo-Seis Helicopters, Inc. The Fort Collins, Col., company will operate two SA-330J Puma helicopters aboard three MSC combat stores ships on a rotating basis beginning in January 2000. The commercial helos will deploy aboard the ships in place of the Navy helicopter units normally assigned to the ships.
MSC combat stores ships are the floating Walmarts of the Navy -- supplying the Navy combatant fleet with everything from fresh food to spare parts. The two SA-330J Puma helicopters will perform vertical replenishments at sea -- flying supplies and personnel from the combat stores ship to a combatant ship. The Pumas can also provide ship-to-shore service.
"This event signals a milestone for MSC and the Department of Defense for outsourcing," said Rear Adm. Gordon S. Holder, USN, Commander, MSC.
Outsourcing helicopter services is believed to be a cost effective alternative as the Navy's H-46 helicopter's continue to age and need replacement. Having this service performed by contractors also frees military billets for combat missions.
The contract helicopters can carry a maximum of 7,000 pounds externally and can also carry passengers internally. The helicopters are compatible with MSC combat stores ships in size, hangar requirements and other specifications.
Following one month of training, the Pumas and attached personnel will deploy in January for about six months aboard one combat stores ship. The Pumas will then rotate to a different combat stores ship during the next deployment, changing ships every six-month deployment period during the life of the contract. USNS Saturn, USNS Sirius and USNS Concord will be the three ships using the Pumas.
These three stores ships are part of MSC's nearly 30 ship Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force which supplies the Navy's combatant fleet, permitting the ships to remain at sea, on station and combat ready. MSC, the ocean transportation provider for the Department of Defense, operates about 110 ships daily around the world providing combat logistics services for the Navy, prepositioning U.S. military cargo near strategic locations around the world, operating special mission ships for various U.S. government agencies and providing surge sealift of U.S. military equipment and supplies during times of war, natural disaster or other contingency.