Page 29: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (June 2021)
USCG Fleet Modernization Annual
USCG CUTTERS rom work boats to patrol boats to heavy icebreakers, range and endurance and will eventually comprise more that the Coast Guard is recapitalizing its ? eet with new 70% of the Coast Guard’s offshore presence. Like the NSC, and more capable ships. It can’t happen too soon. The the OPC will have a ? ight deck, hangar and aviation facilities
F service’s legacy ? eet of icebreakers, high and medium for helicopters and unmanned aircraft. endurance cutters has reached retirement age, and then some. Three OPCs are under construction at Eastern Shipbuilding
USCGC Munro (WHEC 724), the last of the 12 Hamilton- Group (ESG) in Panama City, Fla, and long lead-time materi- class, 378-foot high-endurance cutters (WHECs), was decom- als for a fourth are on contract.
missioned on April 24 in Kodiak, Alaska. Commissioned in ESG won the competition to do the detailed design and con- 1971, she served for ? ve decades. struction of up to nine ships. Heavy damage from Hurricane
The high-endurance mission is now being performed by nine Michael in October 2018 disrupted production. ESG requested “Legend Class” 418-foot National Security Cutters (NSCs) extraordinary contract relief under the authority of Public Law now in the ? eet, with two more under construction. The multi- 85-804 as a result of the effects on the shipyard from the cat- mission NSCs are the largest of the “white hull” cutters. All egory 5 storm. Limited extraordinary relief was approved by
NSCs have been or are planned to be built at Huntington In- the Department of Homeland Security, and the Coast Guard galls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding of Pascagoula, Miss. moved forward with an adjustment to the OPC detail design
The Coast Guard’s medium endurance cutters (WMECs) are and construction contract to cover production of the ? rst four also at or near the end of their service lives. There are 13 ves- hulls. After soliciting industry for ideas in 2020, a new request sels in the 270-foot Famous-class and 14 vessels still in active for proposals to build up to 11 OPCs was issued in January,
U.S. service of the 210-foot Reliance class. The ? rst 270 was commissioned in 1983, and the ? rst 210 in 1964. The WMEC ? eet also includes USCGC Alex Haley, a converted salvage
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw breaks ice in ship that was transferred from the Navy, serving from 1971 to
White? sh Bay, Mich., in support of Operation Spring 1996 before entering Coast Guard service in 1999.
Breakout, March 16, 2009. Spring Breakout encom-
The replacement for the aging WMECs is under construc- passes northern Lake Michigan, northern Lake Huron, tion. The 360-foot Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutter the St. Marys River and helps facilitate the spring ship- (OPC) is one of the service’s highest acquisition priorities.
Designed to complement the capabilities of the NSC, the ping season in the Great lakes.
U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Of? cer 3rd Class George Degener 25-ship class of OPCs will have much greater sea-keeping,
The Legend-class cutter USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) arrives at Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota, Spain,
April 14, 2021. After a two-week transit across the
Atlantic Ocean, the cutters arrived in-port to resupply, before continuing to conduct operations in U.S. Sixth
Fleet. They are on their way to Bahrain to join Patrol
Forces South West Asia.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Nathan Carpenter
USCGC Smilax (WLIC-315), the oldest active Coast
Guard cutter, travels through Hatteras Inlet. The inland construction tender turned 75 in 2018.
U.S. Coast Guard photo www.marinelink.com 29
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