Florida-based Eastern Shipbuilding Group has cut the first steel for the US Coast Guard’s (USCG) second offshore patrol cutter (OPC).
The ship, to be named Chase (WMSM-916), is scheduled for delivery in 2023.
The cutting of steel started the fabrication and assembly of the cutter’s hull, and ESG is to complete keel laying of Chase in 2021.
Additionally, ESG has commenced the placement of orders for long lead time materials for Ingham (WMSM-917), the third OPC.
“Today’s (April 27) success is the start of serial production of the OPCs at ESG by our dedicated team of shipbuilders and subcontractors for our customer and partner, the United States Coast Guard. We are excited for what will be a great 2020 for Eastern Shipbuilding Group and Bay County, Florida,” Joey D’Isernia, Eastern’s President, commented.
The OPC is designed to conduct multiple missions in support of the nation’s maritime security and border protection. It will provide a capability bridge between the national security cutter, which patrols the open ocean in the most demanding maritime environments, and the fast response cutter, which serves closer to shore.
The OPC design includes the capability of carrying an MH-60R or MH-65 helicopter and three operational Over The-Horizon 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.
On September 15, 2016, the USCG exercised the option for detail design on Eastern Shipbuilding Group’s OPC contract. Eastern Shipbuilding will construct OPCs to replace the Medium Endurance Cutters currently in service. The contract includes the production of up to four vessels.
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.