The initially problematic NSC
program is one example. Two cutters,
Bertholf and Waesche, have been
commissioned. The third, Stratton, is
91 percent complete and delivery is
expected this fall. Production has
begun on the fourth, Hamilton, and
long-lead-time materials are being
purchased for the fifth.
“If I had to pick one absolutely
critical acquisition, it would be the
NSC. Our older High Endurance
Cutters are crumbling to a point
that safe and economical mission
performance has degraded to
unsatisfactory levels,” Papp said.
Under the original modernization
plan, the Coast Guard estimated that
each NSC would cost around $425
million. But the final tab for Bertholf
came in at $701 million after a series
of structural and electrical design
issues had to be addressed. Waesche
and Stratton came in at $528 and
$551 million, respectively. Per-ship costs can vary due to
economic conditions, wild swings in the commodity
prices and the labor market, service officials said.
Hamilton’s total acquisition cost is estimated at $690
million, with the fifth NSC around the same price tag,
according to the Coast Guard. Those two NSCs, both
purchased under fixed-priced-plus-incentive contracts, were the first awarded outside the ICGS contract. They tend to be more expensive because contract
risks shift to the shipbuilder.
The ships are being built in Pascagoula, Miss., by
Huntington Ingalls Industries, a company that was spun
off from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in March.
The Coast Guard continues to receive Response Boats-Medium from an industry team of Marinette Marine/
Kvichak Marine Industries, which has delivered 61 to date
and anticipates delivering 30 more over the next year.
As for its aviation modernization programs, the Coast
Guard’s 22 HC-130H long-range surveillance aircraft
have all received an improved SELEX radar system. The
service is in the process of developing a new avionics
package for them that will consist of an avionics display,
integrated flight managements systems and integrated
communications, said Project Manager Rick Seitz.
The service also is expecting two more HC-130Js by
fiscal 2013 or 2014. The U.S. Navy originally provided
the funding, $174 million, for the aircraft through the
Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010. The Navy
has since given the funding to the Air Force, which
will buy the aircraft for the Coast Guard.
U.S. COAST GUARD
The Coast Guard Cutter Waesche conducts at-sea refueling operations for the
first time with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Yukon May 25 in the Pacific.
The Alameda, Calif.-based Waesche is the second National Security Cutter to be
commissioned. A third, Stratton, is being readied for delivery this fall.
cancellation of a project to convert 110-foot patrol boats
into 123-foot cutters when the first eight reconfigured
boats were deemed not seaworthy, the Coast Guard took
over control in mid-2007. In January, the ICGS contract
ran out and the service did not renew it.
Among congressional overseers, the jury is still out
on how effective the program management changes
“Although there has been some added capability
with the few recapitalized assets delivered to date, the
fact remains, we are not where we should be,” said
Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-NJ, during an April 13 House
Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on
coast guard and maritime transportation hearing to
examine the status of the service’s major acquisition
programs. “The program remains significantly over
budget and several years behind schedule. In addition,
serious questions remain about whether the assets
being delivered meet expected capabilities.”
A June 7 Congressional Research Service report,
“Coast Guard Deepwater Acquisition Programs:
Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for
Congress,” noted, “The Coast Guard’s management of
Deepwater acquisition programs, including implemen-
tation of recommendations made by the Government
Accountability Office, is a topic of continuing congres-
sional oversight. Additional oversight issues include
cost growth in Deepwater acquisition programs.”
Coast Guard officials, however, insist that the mod-
ernization program is moving in the right direction.