Page 28: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (March 2014)

U.S. Coast Guard Annual

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28 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • MARCH 2014


Coast Guard Replacing Aging Ships with 91 New Cutters By Edward Lundquist

T he numerous cutters and craft of the U.S. Coast Guard — from the sail training ship Ea- gle to the large oceangoing pa- trol ships; from polar icebrakers to small utility boats — form a formidable fl eet to meet the many challenging assignments undertaken by the service. In 2014 the

Coast Guard continues its recapitaliza- tion program with its National Secu- rity Cutter (NSC), Fast Response Cutter (FPC) and Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC).

The service plans to procure 91 cut- ters (8 NSCs, 25 OPCs and 58 FRCs) to replace are 90 aging cutters and pa- trol boats. According to a Feb. 14 report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), “The NSC, OPC, and FRC pro- grams have a combined estimated ac- quisition cost of about $21.1 billion, and the Coast Guard’s proposed FY2014 budget requested a total of $716 million in acquisition funding for the three pro- grams.”

The new ships will feature more auto- mation and therefore smaller crews. “Many of these 90 ships are manpow- er-intensive and increasingly expensive to maintain, and have features that in some cases are not optimal for perform- ing their assigned missions,” the CRS report said.

The USCGC Bertholf class NSC rep- resents the Coast Guard’s largest and most capable general-purpose cutters, costing about $684 million each. It is, in fact, a multi-role combatant. Three are in service and three more are under construction oat Huntington Ingalls in

Pascagoula, Miss. A total of eight ships are planned as replacements for the 12

Hamilton-class of 378-foot high endur- ance cutters. “In October we christened our fourth

National Security Cutter, the Hamilton, which will soon join Bertholf, Waesche and Stratton,” said Commandant of the

Coast Guard Adm. Bob Papp aduring his 2014 State of the Coast Guard address on Feb. 27. “We will christen our fi fth, the James, this summer. Our sixth, the

Munro, is in production. We have con- tracted for the major propulsion systems and other equipment for number seven, the Kimball. With FY14 spending in place, we now have the construction funding for Kimball and we have re- ceived the funding to purchase long lead time materials for our eighth NSC, the


The new 418-ft., 4,434 ton NSCs have smaller crews–around 122 on Bertholf— than the 170 people on the smaller 378s.

Bertholf has both diesels and a single gas turbine, which together can achieve speeds above 28 knots, and 24 knots on diesels alone.

Bertholf is the fi rst Coast Guard vessel to carry the newest version of the Close- in Weapon System (CIWS 1B), and the

BAE Systems Bofors 57mm gun for use against both air and surface targets

The biggest difference you can’t see is the total ship computing environment, and SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented In- formation Facility), which provides “in- formation assurance” and permits better command and control and interoperabil- ity than any previous cutter. “They add a level of capability that moves the Coast Guard to even more effective service at greater value for the taxpayer,” said Papp. “And with contin- ued support in FY15, we hope to soon complete one of the most signifi cant ac- quisition projects our history.”

The U.S. Coast Guard awarded three fi rm fi xed-price contracts on Feb. 11, 2014, for preliminary and contract de- sign (P&CD) for the Offshore Patrol

Cutter (OPC) acquisition project. The contracts — worth about $22 million each — were awarded to Bollinger Ship- yards Lockport LLC (Lockport, La.),

Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc. (Pan- ama City, Fla.) and General Dynamics,

Bath Iron Works (Bath, Maine). From these three preliminary designs a single team will be selected for detailed de- sign, and that team will build the initial ship with an option to build up to ten

OPCs. The Coast Guard said it is “us- ing a deliberative, two-phased design- build strategy to acquire the OPC. This approach establishes stable requirements and design early on in the life of the ac- quisition, which helps mitigate cost and schedule risks.”

The OPCs will be smaller than the

NSC, less capable, and presumably less

USCG The Fleet Faces Forward

Offshore Patrol Cutter

The U.S. Coast Guard awarded three fi rm fi xed-price contracts February 11, 2014, for preliminary and contract design (P&CD) for the Offshore

Patrol Cutter (OPC) acquisition project; 25 ships are planned

The total value of the award is approximately $65m.

Preliminary Design Contractors • Bollinger Shipyards Teamed with Gibbs & Cox, L-3 Communications and Damen Shipyards Group • Eastern Shipbuilding Teamed with STX Marine and Northrop Grumman • General Dynamics Bath Iron Works Teamed with L-3 Communications and Navantia

The NSC, OPC, and FRC programs have a combined estimated acquisition cost of about $21.1 billion.

Eastern Shipbuillding

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