Sources Sought: Ship Hull Cleaning Using Autonomous Robotic Solutions

NCMS is assisting the U.S. Navy in seeking a partner with capabilities to autonomously clean ship hulls.


Biofouling on ship hulls poses multiple problems for ship operators and maintainers. Biofouling increases flow resistance, raises fuel consumption, and disturbs marine ecosystems. Cleaning ship hulls using traditional mechanical methods is time-consuming and labor-intensive, produces large amounts of environmental waste, and can expose shipyard workers to very hazardous working conditions. A large portion of the time required for ship maintenance goes to cleaning hulls; finding a faster method would streamline the time needed to get our fleet back into service.

Solution Sought

Development of a solution that will automate hull cleaning while ships are in dry docks.

This solution should have the following capabilities:

  • Autonomously remove corrosion and biofouling without damaging the ship’s hull (e.g., laser ablation, plasma, etc…)
  • Reduce environmental contamination from biofouling
  • Increase ship availability
  • Decrease downtime
  • Increase productivity at shipyards
  • Coating (i.e. paint) removal from ship hulls while in drydock

FAQ and Image

Sources Sought Ship Hull Cleaning Using Autonomous Robotic Solutions FAQ



Responses to this Sources Sought need to provide the following:

  • Background of capability development
  • Examples of where the capability is currently used—if any
  • Cost Summary Form

Interested parties should complete the following form before COB Friday 9/17/21. All questions or concerns can be addressed to or call 734-995-4930.

    Primary Contact

    Technical Contact

    Capabilities Summary (Word .doc or .docx format only)

    Cost Summary Form (PDF file format only)


    Disclaimer and other Legal Information

    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.