USCG unveils homeport of newest national security cutter

The US Coast Guard (USCG) has announced that Charleston, South Carolina will be the home of its newest national security cutter (NSC).

The seventh US Coast Guard National Security Cutter, Kimball (WMSL 756), during sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: HII

“I am pleased to announce that Charleston, South Carolina will be the home of the Coast Guard’s 11th National Security Cutter,” Admiral Karl L. Schultz, Commandant of the Coast Guard, said.

The cutter is scheduled to arrive in 2024 and its name has not yet been selected. This will be the fifth NSC assigned to Charleston.

Construction on the 11th NSC is scheduled to begin by spring of 2020. Charleston is already home to two of the USCG’s NSCs, the James and Hamilton.

In 2017, the USCG revealed that the ninth and tenth national security cutters, currently under construction at Huntington Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, will join the Charleston-based NSC fleet in the coming years.

“I am confident that the Charleston community is the right place for our Coast Guardsmen and their families to base these highly capable National Security Cutters with the global reach to respond to complex maritime threats and challenges,” Admiral Schultz further noted.

National Security Cutters are the most technologically advanced vessels in the USCG fleet, capable of supporting maritime homeland security and defense missions. They are 418 feet long with a 54-foot beam and displace 4,500 tons with a full load. The ships have a top speed of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 miles, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 120.

Grouping cutters of the same class is one critical variable in selecting homeports. Grouping cutters in the same location improves maintenance proficiency, streamlines logistics, and provides increased personnel flexibility, as explained by the USCG.

In December 2018, the USCG awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division $462.13 million for the construction of NSC 11 and $468.75 million for NSC 10.