Up to $86.1M for Magnetic Silencing Facility at Pearl Harbor
Aug 11/08: The Watts-Healy Tibbitts joint venture in Honolulu, HI receives an initial $42.4 million increment to build a drive-in magnetic silencing facility at Beckoning Point, Naval Station Pearl Harbor. The 2nd increment will be funded in FY 2009 at $35.9 million, and the 3rd increment will be funded in 2010 at $6.6 million to finish the $84.8 million contract. The contract also contains an unexercised option, which would increase the cumulative contract value to $86.1 million.
The reason behind these expensive facilities is simple. Any mass of iron stressed in the earth’s magnetic field becomes a magnet. Riveting and other construction activities magnetize a ship, as do some operational activities. That magnetization then changes gradually when the ship is underway, depending on its heading and location. A magnetized object can be detected, of course, and magnetic field changes can also be used as a trigger for weapons like mines and homing torpedoes. Magnetic Silencing Facilities provide deperming/ degaussing, which reduces the ship’s electromagnetic signature to a point that’s much closer to the earth’s natural level. Cryptome has a partial list of American MSFs, including some photos and links.
Work will be performed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and is expected to be complete by October 2010. This contract was competitively procured, with 41 offers solicited and 4 proposals received by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific in Pearl Harbor, HI (N62742-08-C-1311).