The U.S. Coast Guard has awarded General Dynamics Bath Iron Works a $21.4 million contract for the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) program. Bath Iron Works is one of three shipyards chosen from a field of eight competitors to proceed to Phase I design work on this next-generation cutter program.
The Bath Iron Works team includes L-3 Communications and Navantia, S.A., a shipbuilder that Bath Iron Works has collaborated with for more than 30 years.
Bath Iron Works president Fred Harris said the Coast Guard design contract was an important development as the shipyard seeks to expand its customer base and maintain its design and manufacturing workload.
“Our experienced engineering and design team will now focus on developing a preliminary OPC design that meets or exceeds our customer’s requirements,” said Harris. “We will also continue our yard-wide actions to ensure we can build these ships affordably, safely and on – or ahead of – schedule.”
At the end of the 18-month Phase I period, the Coast Guard will select one team to develop Phase II detail design and build the first nine to 11 ships of a planned 25-ship class.
The OPC is a next-generation ship which will replace the Coast Guard’s aging fleet of Medium Endurance Cutters, complementing the current and future fleet and extending the service’s operational capabilities. The OPC will feature increased range and endurance, more powerful weapons, a larger flight deck and improved command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment.
Press Release, February 17, 2014; Image: Wikimedia