The U.S. Coast Guard has awarded Eastern Shipbuilding Group a $110.29 million contract for the production of the lead Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) and up to eight follow-on cutters.
If the Coast Guard opts to build all nine cutters the contract will be worth $2.38 billion.
The OPC acquisition will replace the service’s aging fleet of medium endurance cutters, some that are in excess of 50 years old.
The OPC will provide a capability bridge between the National Security Cutter and the Fast Response Cutter, which operates closer to shore.
According to the Coast Guard program, twenty five Offshore Patrol Cutters are planned to be built at a total cost of over 10 billion dollars.
The OPCs will be 360 feet long and 54 feet wide with a projected speed of 22 knots. The cutters will be capable of carrying an MH-60R or MH-65 helicopter and three OTH small boats.
“The Offshore Patrol Cutter acquisition is the Coast Guard’s highest investment priority, and we are proud to announce this important milestone,” said Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Paul Zukunft.
“The Offshore Patrol Cutter will replace our aging medium endurance cutters and provide the majority of offshore presence by the Coast Guard’s cutter fleet. Whether combating transnational organized criminal networks off Central America or patrolling in the increasingly accessible Arctic, the Offshore Patrol Cutter will ensure our Nation’s maritime security and economic interests are preserved for decades to come.”
The Coast Guard is currently evaluating home porting options with the first OPC expected to be delivered in fiscal year 2021.