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Tank Inspection Prize Challenge

The Navy partners of the FATHOMWERX Lab are conducting a Prize Challenge in order to identify solutions within industry and academia for inspecting various naval assets both ashore and at sea.


Advancing the techniques and technologies for inspecting fuel and water infrastructure, and ship ballast tanks stand to substantially reduce costs and increase safety over current inspection methods.


Naval Facilities Engineering and Naval Sea Systems Command invite solutions providers to join the competition and demonstrate their capabilities with the opportunity of earning cash prizes and opportunities for follow-on contracts and procurements.

Check back soon for FAQs and videos!

Questions?  Email

Question & Answer

Question: Is the Navy’s plan to eventually self-perform inspections using these technologies, to work with 3rd party service providers to manage these scopes, or some combination of both

Answer: The ship maintenance organizations (Problem 1) already outsource large quantities of non-destructive testing services to contractors, so it is pretty conceivable that we could shift entire tank assessment programs in that direction should a service become available that improves on the current labor intensive methods. For level 1 tank assessments (coatings and basic corrosion evaluation) most of Southwest Regional Maintenance Center’s (SWRMC’s) tank and void crew are contractors, trained by outside activities like AMPP (formally NACE), to perform the assessments and record the gathered data per very specific instructions. We could see the existing labor contract shifting towards more of a service contract to perform the assessments if improvements in the gathering of quality, quantitative data can be demonstrated. We can also see the current labor contract being modified to require the specific training needed to implement a new tool or process. It already requires assessors receive specific training, so it’s not much of a stretch to see that training requirements grow.

Question: Does the Tank Inspection Prize Challenge fall under the guidelines of the SBIR/STTR Program?

Answer: The Prize Challenge program is set up independently of the SBIR program yet is intended to meet competitive requirements for an Other Transaction Authority. Any correlation or conflict between the Prize Challenge and an SBIR solicitation program should be reviewed by the issuing agency’s SBIR coordinator. The SBIR points of contact can be found here: Navy SBIR / STTR Program.



Question: Will fully-commercialized solutions from established service/technology companies be considered in the challenge

Answer: Yes


Question: Can we receive a current guideline as to the tank inspection program and the standards to which the program is designed to comply with? 

Answer: Problem 1 – Water: Refer to American Waterworks Association D100 for steel tanks, and D110 for concrete tanks (Participants will not be evaluated on the inspection of a concrete tank for this challenge; though this capability is of interest to the Navy)


Problem 1 – Petroleum Oil and Lubricants (POL): Refer to API 653 is the standard.




Problem 2 comments: The bulk of the document covers coating assessment (referred to as Level 1 Assessments), but it also directs the accomplishment of structural assessment (referred to as Level 2 Assessments. Level 2’s, with the exception of a few ship specific, periodic assessments, are accomplished after structural damage is reported by Level 1 assessors accomplishing G1N5 (tanks and voids) or G1N6 (general structural survey) assessments. Some Regional Maintenance Centers (RMCs) have chosen to have all their Level 1 assessors be Level 2 assessors as well, in which case structural evaluations and reports are generated at the same time defects are discovered, and other RMCs (such as Southwest Regional Maintenance Center) (SWRMC) have dedicated Level 1 only assessors that will roughly evaluate corrosion and structural damage while performing their coating assessments and generate follow on 2-kilos for Level 2 assessors to visit a space or tank and perform the Level 2. Both coating assessments and structural assessments (Level 1 and 2) are evaluated using Tables 6-1 through 6-3 of the CCAMM- the Maintenance Decision Risk Matrix (MDRM) which are attached. On the right hand side of Table 6-1, the basic, go/no-go criteria for structural issues are defined and a Condition Rating (S1  to S5) is applied to each discovered defect. Tables 6-2 or 6-3 are then utilized to define the Risk Group (R1 to R5), and maintenance decisions are made by combining the S and R categories on the grid. Because coating ratings are also listed on the left hand side of Table 6-1, it’s important to read the associated general notes for each S/R combination.


The MDRM is used heavily when prioritizing maintenance actions for the surface fleet, so any program that can be used to evaluate coatings and/or structural damage that then relays findings in a report format that suits the MDRM would be advantageous to the Navy.  Also included is appendix A from CCAMM which includes the forms for the G1N5 and G1N6 assessments. Gathered data from tank assessments, presented in G1N5 format would also be desired.

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