The US Coast Guard (USCG) has modified its contract with Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) to begin construction of the second offshore patrol cutter (OPC) and acquire long lead-time material (LLTM) for the third OPC.
As informed, the second OPC, to be named Chase, is slated for delivery in 2023.
The total value of the construction and LLTM orders is USD 343 million. In addition to ordering the construction of the second OPC, this contracting action also covers the initial order of components and materials necessary to support the future construction of the third OPC by acquiring propeller and steering components, marine diesel engines, the ship integrated control system, switchboards, and generators, according to USCG.
The lead OPC is currently in production at ESG’s shipyard in Panama City, Florida. Production of the lead cutter, Argus, commenced on January 7, 2019. The 360-feet-long newbuild is scheduled for delivery in 2022.
The OPC design includes the capability of carrying an MH-60R or MH-65 Helicopter and three operational Over-The-Horizon (OTH) small boats. The vessel is also equipped with a highly sophisticated combat system and C4ISR suite that will enhance capabilities to execute the service’s missions.
The OPC meets the service’s long-term need for cutters capable of deploying independently or as part of task groups and is essential to stopping smugglers at sea, interdicting undocumented migrants, rescuing mariners, enforcing fisheries laws, responding to disasters and protecting the US ports.
The acquisition of 25 OPCs will complement the capabilities of the USCG’s national security cutters, fast response cutters and polar security cutters as an essential element of the Department of Homeland Security’s layered security strategy.
“Today (April 9) represents not only the continuation of production for the USCG’s future replacement of their 210-ft and 270-ft class medium endurance cutters but also an important step in the continuing recovery of Northwest Florida and ESG post Hurricane Michael. Looking back on the condition of our shipyard and our community immediately post Hurricane Michael in comparison to how far we have come, I could not be more proud of our team for what we have accomplished to date,” Joey D’Isernia, Eastern’s President, commented.