Sources Sought: US Navy Seeks Custom Robotic Borescope for Seawater Piping Systems

NCMS is assisting the US Navy (NAVSEA) in seeking a partner with expertise in robotically inspecting seawater piping systems.


Inspecting shipboard seawater piping systems is an important and labor-intensive process. Seawater piping systems must be inspected for sea growth, biofouling, and other potential blockages. Current inspection systems require maintainers to manually operate and maneuver a borescope. This process is limited by the distance a maintainer can feed a borescope, usually a couple of feet at a time. These limitations lead to lengthy inspection times and late identification of system blockages, causing costly system flushes and delayed schedules.

Solution Sought

A custom self-contained, self-propelled robotic system to inspect inaccessible seawater piping systems.

Required Capabilities

  • Self-Propelled (Forward and reverse drive that maintains traction in sea growth, barnacles, seaweed, etc.)
  • Ability to traverse 3 inch – 10 inch NPS (horizontal and vertical pipes)
    • Effectively navigating turns through 1D pipe bends
  • Submergible in water
  • Remote viewing screen for operator
    • Camera capturing video and still images
    • Controllable lighting options for visuals
  • Multiple operating cable lengths
    • 25 feet
    • 50 feet
    • 100 feet
  • Tethered recovery system separate from operating cables
  • Powered by 120V A/C
  • Self-contained system with a hard case weighing less than or equal to 40 pounds


Interested parties should complete the following form and provide a white paper response with no more than ten (10) pages, not including a cover page, using the format below. Responses are due on March 31, 2023. All questions or concerns can be addressed to

White Paper Response:

  1. Describe the general approach to providing a solution.
  2. Describe assumptions.
  3. Provide high-level project schedule and timing.
  4. Provide high-level cost to design and build.
  5. Describe recent and relevant experience.
  6. Provide URLs to corporate presentations including engineering, modeling, simulation, prototyping, testing, and manufacturing capabilities.

Disclaimer and other Legal Information

NCMS encourages the participation of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), including Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs).

Responding to a Sources Sought, RFI, or Survey does not guarantee that a CTMA Program initiative will result. By submitting a response, you are agreeing to allow NCMS to share your information with the United States government. All submissions containing proprietary information shall be marked accordingly.

Any industry or academia participant awarded a contract by a participating government sponsor pursuant to a Sources Sought, RFI, or Survey will be compensated, under the agreement, on a cost-reimbursable basis. Each project participant will be expected to share in the total project cost by contributing cash or in-kind resources.

Under the CTMA Program, the parties shall limit participation on the project to (1) U.S. citizens, (2) lawful permanent residents as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(20), (3) other protected individuals as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), and (4) Canadian citizens (pursuant to the principles underlying the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement), if such participation will involve visual inspection of the Technology, Intellectual Property or Technical Information, or oral exchanges of information about the foregoing. We also require the project participants to furnish NCMS, upon request, with proof of the citizenship status of its personnel participating on the project, including (1) U.S. citizens; (2) legal permanent residents; and (3) foreign nationals who are not permanent residents. In instances where it is necessary to involve foreign national employees in the visual inspection of the Technology, Intellectual Property, or Technical Information, or oral exchanges of information about the foregoing, the parties will be required to furnish to NCMS proof of appropriate valid export license, or technical assistance agreement, or exemption from licensing requirements (e.g. Canadian exemption) to the extent required by the International Traffic In Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) or the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”). A copy of such license or agreement shall be furnished to NCMS before any disclosure of information to such foreign person. In the event a party believes that the subject matter of the project agreement is not covered by ITAR, that party may request a written waiver of the requirements of foreign national provision in the CTMA Agreement, which may be granted if the NCMS contracting officer agrees that ITAR does not cover the subject matter.

These requirements also apply to individuals who have dual citizenship status.


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