Coast Guard continues receiving assets, despite lingering Deepwater problems
BY JOHN C. MARCARIO, Assistant Editor
One Step at a Time
Patrol Cutter (OPC) or unmanned
aerial system (UAS).
Preliminary design specifics for
the OPC will be released this year.
The Coast Guard, which had hoped
to have a UAS in the fleet by 2008, remains without one. It has established
formal partnerships with Customs
and Border Protection and the Navy
to collaborate with their air programs
— the land-based General Atomics
Predator or Guardian and the Navy’s
ship-based Fire Scout — and will
continue to study its options.
Delivery of the first FRC was expected to be in the
spring, but has been pushed back to later this year,
according to the Coast Guard. The delay was related to
the service deciding to modify the prescribed safety
margins in specific areas to counter the stress expected
to be exerted on the cutters at certain speeds and angles
while out at sea to ensure the ships maintain their 20-
year life expectancy. The service said the delay will not
result in cost overruns.
After delivery of the first FRC from Lockport La.-based Bollinger Shipyards, the Coast Guard expects to
have one delivered each quarter. Bollinger currently
has eight in production and may build as many as 34.
“The Coast Guard opted to implement some additional structure in the main and [second] decks through a
contract change that will cause delay in the delivery of the
lead and follow-on vessels. The impact of that is still
being assessed but the earliest the vessel will be delivered
is late fall of this year. The delivery date of the follow-on
vessels will be established based on the lead ship’s delivery,” said Ian Grunther, FRC deputy project manager.
Under the original structure, Deepwater’s lead systems integrator was Integrated Coast Guard Services
(ICGS), a joint venture of Northrop Grumman and
Lockheed Martin. But the program got off to a rocky
start, and after a series of delays, cost overruns and the
The Coast Guard’s modernization and recapitalization program is
hitting its stride as new assets make their way to the fleet.
■ The service expects delivery of the first Fast Response Cutter
later this year.
■ Long-lead materials for the fifth National Security Cutter have
■ Rising costs and delays, however, continue to be challenges.
The Coast Guard’s Acquisition Directorate contin- ues to make progress as assets enter the fleet in greater numbers, although rising costs, program
delays and inadequate funding continue to be concerns.
The service’s modernization and recapitalization
effort marked a number of milestones during the past
year, including the third Legend-class National
Security Cutter (NSC), Stratton, completing builder’s
trials in July; the first Sentinel-class Fast Response
Cutter (FRC), Bernard C. Webber, being launched in
April; and the Rescue 21 and aviation programs delivering key capabilities to the field.
“We have a number of desperately needed acquisition projects currently under way to replace our rapidly aging and diminishing fleet of aircraft, cutters and
boats,” Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., the Coast Guard commandant, told Seapower.
But effects from the service’s earlier problems with the
former Deepwater modernization program continue to
linger. The Coast Guard took control of the Deepwater
program in 2007. The Acquisition Directorate manages 22
programs, 15 of which are from the old Deepwater effort.
The estimated cost of the service’s 25-year recapitalization program was raised from $24 billion to $27.4 billion in March 2010, and may go higher. Current estimates do not include work on the program’s Offshore