Page 31: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (June 2021)

USCG Fleet Modernization Annual

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instead of the WPB’s 17-foot RHIB boat; a remote operated, fully stabilized MK38 Mod 2 25-mm main gun; improved sea keeping; and enhanced crew habitability. In fact, the FRCs are able to do some missions previously assigned to larger cutters.

The much-needed replacement for the Coast Guard’s heavy polar icebreakers (WAGBs), the Polar Security Cut- ter (PSC), is underway. The Coast Guard awarded a contract to Halter Marine, Inc., to acquire up to three multi-mission

PSCs to recapitalize the service’s heavy icebreaking capabil- ity. USCGC Polar Star (WAGB 10) is currently the Coast

Guard’s sole operational heavy icebreaker. Polar Star’s sister ship, USCGC Polar Sea (WAGB 11), has been taken out of service. The two Polar-class icebreakers were commissioned in in 1976 and 1978, and are now far older than their 30- year expected service lives. Commissioned in 1999, USCGC

Healy (WAGB 20) is a medium icebreaker used primarily to support polar research.

“Our new Polar Security Cutters will ensure year-round access to uphold United States’ sovereignty, represent na- tional interests, and vigorously compete for advantage in the remote polar regions,” said Coast Guard Commandant

Adm. Karl Schultz.

The “Black Hull” ? eet of buoy tenders and construc- tion cutters carries out the dif? cult but unheralded jobs of maintaining the system of aids to navigation (ATON) at sea, along the coast, and throughout the nation’s intracoastal and inland waterways.

This mission is accomplished by 16 Juniper-class, 225- foot seagoing buoy tenders used to maintain aids to naviga- tion and also assist with ice breaking, law enforcement, and search and rescue. They entered service between 1996 and 2004, with two of them being stationed on the Great Lakes.

There are 14 Keeper-class 175-foot coastal buoy tenders that entered service between 1996 and 2000.

The inland and river construction tenders are the oldest

Coast Guard Cutter Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) steams through Apra Harbor before arriving at its new homeport in Santa Rita, Guam. The new

Fast Response Cutter (FRC) is the ? rst of three scheduled to be stationed on Guam and is replacing the 30-year old 110-foot Island-class patrol boats.

FRCs are equipped with new advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems and boast greater range and endurance.

Photo by U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class

MacAdam Kane Weissman

MR #6 (18-33).indd 31 6/3/2021 5:35:17 PM

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