Computer graphic illustration of the Offshore Patrol Cutter provided by Eastern Shipbuilding.
|Name:||Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutter|
|Preceded by:||Famous and Reliance class|
|Planned:||11, up to 25|
|Type:||United States Coast Guard Cutter|
|Displacement:||3,500 to 3,730 tons|
|Length:||360 feet (110 m)|
|Beam:||54 feet (16 m)|
|Draft:||17 feet (5.2 m)|
|Range:||8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) @ 14 knots|
|Boats & landing |
|Sensors and |
|Electronic warfare |
|Aviation facilities:||Flight deck, hangar for all aircraft|
The Heritage-class cutter, also known as the Offshore Patrol Cutter and the Maritime Security Cutter, Medium, was one design among several new cutter designs developed as part of the United States Coast Guard Integrated Deepwater System Program.
The Heritage-class cutters will perform various Coast Guard missions which include but are not limited to PWCS (Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security), Defense Operations, Maritime Law Enforcement (Drug/migrant interdiction and other Law Enforcement), Search and Rescue, Marine Safety, and environment protection. For Defense Operations the WMSM will meet a range of roles from Theater Security Cooperation to deploying with an Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) or supporting a combatant commander in various ways. The cutters will also support Arctic operations.
The Heritage-class cutters are the newest class of cutter in the USCG, they will bridge the capabilities of the Legend Class cutters and the Sentinel-class cutters. The cutters will be built to all of the American Bureau of Shipping Naval Vessel Rules. The cutters will have the ability to install additional equipment (Armament) and systems to augment its capabilities if it is required to conduct operations in higher threat environments in support of national security objectives or other missions. The cutters construction will provide combat survivability against various threats, including combatant type compartmentalization, uninterruptible power supply to vital combat and damage control systems and sensors, and ballistic materials over critical areas for protection against small caliber weapons and shrapnel. The cutters has increased interoperability with other USCG and DoD assets, this allows the cutter to have increased communications and similar systems with other combatants, such as the Mk 110 and the Mk 38 are both weapons used in the Navy and the Coast Guard, this makes sure the OPC has the required interoperability to execute naval warfare tasks with the US Navy.
The Saab Sea Giraffe AN/SPS-77 multi-mode medium range naval radar system provides three-dimensional air and surface search functions. The multi-mode naval radar also provides Gun Weapon System cueing and supports the cutters self defense and limited air defense capability. The cutters are also equipped with the AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare (EW) system used in the DDG-51 and Legend class. The Heritage-class cutters are equipped with the same 220 rpm Bofors 57 mm gun as mounted on the USN's Littoral combat ships and the USCG's Legend class cutters. The Missile Defense duties are handled by the MK 53 decoy systems also used on the Legend class cutters. The Heritage class cutters weapon and defense systems provide Anti-Surface capability, limited Air-Defense Capability, and the capability to provide naval gunfire support. The cutters .50 caliber mounts and Mk 38/Mk 110 combination also gives the cutter protection against fast attack craft. The WMSM will have the capability and equipment to escape from a CBRNE and/or TIC contaminated environment.
The cutter was originally proposed to replace aging medium endurance cutters with more capable and technologically advanced cutters as apart of the Integrated Deepwater System Program. By 2010 and 2011 some commentators speculated that the entire program was vulnerable to cancellation on budgetary grounds, because of the long delay in finalizing a preliminary design.
However, a bill passed by the United States Congress on November 15, 2011, imposed conditions on the Coast Guard's capital expenditures, that revolved around the design of the Offshore Patrol Cutter, granting greater certainty to the project.
By December 2011 plans for the cutter started to become more concrete. Plans to include a stern launching ramp, as on the National Security Cutters and the Fast Response Cutters, had been eliminated on budgetary grounds.
In February 2014, the USCG announced that Bollinger Shipyards, Eastern Shipbuilding, and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works had been awarded design contracts for the OPC. The Government Accountability Office denied contract appeals by VT Halter Marine and Ingalls Shipbuilding.
In September 2016, Eastern Shipbuilding of Panama City, Florida, was awarded a $110.3 million contract to build the first Offshore Patrol Cutter with an option to purchase eight additional cutters.  On October 15, 2016 the Coast Guard issued a notice to proceed with the detailed design of the Offshore Patrol Cutter to Eastern Shipbuilding.
The first Offshore Patrol Cutter is expected to be delivered in Fiscal Year 2021. In total, the 25-ship deal could be worth up to $10.5 billion. On July 21, 2017, Eastern Shipbuilding completed its Initial Critical Design Review for the Offshore Patrol Cutter. This leads to the Final Critical Design Review for the Offshore Patrol Cutter.
On August 3, 2017, it was announced that the OPC's will be named "Heritage-class" and the first 11 OPC's were named. The Heritage class OPC's are named after cutters that played a significant role in the Coast Guard's history.
On September 7, 2017, it was announced the USCG exercised a fixed-price option to procure long lead time materials for the first Heritage class cutter. The total value is $41.68 million, this covers various materials and parts needed for the engines, switchboards and generators, steering and propeller components, and control systems. This also includes meeting Coast Guard requirements, and meeting all American Bureau of Shipping Naval Vessel Rules and is the first US Coast Guard cutter ever constructed to meet these very specific requirements. The construction of the first cutter, USCGC Argus (WMSM-915), is planned to begin in the late summer of 2018, and be delivered in August 2021.
|Ship||Hull Number||Builder||Laid down||Launched||Commissioned||Homeport||Status|
|Argus||WMSM-915||Eastern Shipbuilding, Panama City||Planned|
- Equipment of the United States Coast Guard
- National Security Cutter
- Sentinel-class cutter
- Medium endurance cutter
- Littoral combat ship
- "Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC)". Integrated Deepwater System Program. http://www.uscg.mil/deepwater/system/opc.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
- "Offshore Patrol Cutter: Program Profile". U.S. Coast Guard. https://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg9/opc/features.asp. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- "EASTERN SHIPBUILDING GROUP AWARDED LONG LEAD TIME MATERIAL (LLTM) CONTRACT FOR UNITED STATES COAST GUARD OFFSHORE PATROL CUTTER PROGRAM". https://www.easternshipbuilding.com/wp-content/sdaolpu/2017/09/OPC-LLTM-Press-Release-925-0912-Final.pdf. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
- "Maritime security Cutter, Medium (WMSC), Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS". https://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/opc/pdf/CONOPS_RFPRelease.pdf. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- "UNCLASSIFIED LI 4206 - Coast Guard Weapons UNCLASSIFIED Navy Page 1 of 4 P-1 Line #30 Exhibit P-40, Budget Line Item Justification: PB 2015 Navy". https://www.dacis.com/budget/budget_pdf/FY15/PROC/N/4206_30.pdf. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
- "FY17-FY21 SHIPBOARD MULTI MODE RADAR (MMR) PRODUCTION". https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=ca9e06e7a3721fcd4cccf6d3ae95c494&tab=core&_cview=1. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
- "AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare (EW) system". https://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/weaps/an-slq-32.htm.
- "57MM Naval Gun System". http://www.baesystems.com/en/product/57mm-naval-gun-system.
- "MK 110 MOD 0 - 57 MM GUNS". US Navy. http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=2100&tid=1150&ct=2. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- "Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) SUW Self-Protection Secondary Battery Study". http://weaponsanalysis.com/docs/OPC.pdf. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
- "Maritime security Cutter, Medium (WMSC), Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS". United States Coast Guard. https://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/opc/pdf/CONOPS_RFPRelease.pdf. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- Colin Clark (2010-12-07). "Coasties May Lose Cutters to OMB". DoD buzz. http://www.dodbuzz.com/2010/12/07/coasties-may-lose-cutters-to-omb/?wh=wh. Retrieved 2011-12-02. "The program is in its infancy, which may be why OMB wants to cut it before any money starts flowing. Chris Cavas at Navy Times reported that the Coasties are talking to shipbuilders about the best technical and acquisition approaches for the ship. No contracts are due to be awarded for at least another year, so from OMB’s perspective this looks like the best time to save the most money."
- Craig Collins on April 27, 2011 (2011-04-27). "The Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter". Defense Media Network. http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/the-coast-guard%E2%80%99s-offshore-patrol-cutter/. Retrieved 2011-12-02. "The reason rumors continue to swirl about the Coast Guard’s future Offshore Patrol Cutter — including recent speculation that the entire program was to be axed – may simply be that so little has been decided about what the cutter will actually look like. The OPC is a high-profile program, one of the most expensive and talked-about shipbuilding ventures in Coast Guard history, and people are curious."
- Robert Morrisson (2011-01-18). "Is the Palestinian Authority more worthy of funding than the Coast Guard?". David Caller. http://dailycaller.com/2011/01/18/is-the-palestinian-authority-more-worthy-of-funding-than-the-coast-guard/. Retrieved 2011-12-03. "The Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget has decided to reduce costs by cutting the U.S. Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter."
- David Perera (2011-11-28). "House Coast Guard authorization bill decommissions icebreaker within 3 years". Fierce Homeland Security. http://www.fiercehomelandsecurity.com/story/house-coast-guard-authorization-bill-decommissions-icebreaker-within-3-year/2011-11-28. Retrieved 2011-12-03. "Language in the bill would prevent the Coast Guard from starting production on a seventh NSC until it selects an Offshore Patrol Cutter design. The service released a draft specification for the OPCs to industry in May 2011 and is currently reviewing comments; Coast Guard officials said during an Oct. 13 press call that they couldn't say when they'll release a draft request for proposals."
- Stew Magnuson (December 2011). "Lean Fiscal Times Influence Design Of New Coast Guard Cutter Program". National Defense Magazine. http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2011/December/Pages/LeanFiscalTimesInfluencesDesignOfNewCoastGuardCutterProgram.aspx. Retrieved 2011-12-03. "The Coast Guard has already made some budget-based decisions as far as what the ship will not feature. Gas turbine engines and a system to launch small boats from the stern are two ideas that have already been rejected, he said."
- CAVAS, CHRISTOPHER P. (14 February 2014). "3 Firms Win Design Contracts for New US Coast Guard Cutter". Gannett Government Media. http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140214/DEFREG02/302140038. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- "GAO denies protest over Coast Guard patrol cutters". The Associated Press. 1 July 2014. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/1/gao-denies-protest-over-coast-guard-patrol-cutters/. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- LaGrone, Sam (15 September 2016). "Eastern Shipbuilding Wins Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter Award; Bests BIW, Bollinger". USNI News. https://news.usni.org/2016/09/15/offshore-patrol-cutter-award-bests-biw-bollinger.
- LaGrone, Sam (21 September 2016). "Coast Guard Ready for Possible Offshore Patrol Cutter Protest". USNI News. https://news.usni.org/2016/09/21/coast-guard-ready-possible-offshore-patrol-cutter-protest. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
- "USCG: Offshore Patrol Cutter". https://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/opc/.
- "USCG: Acquisition Directorate News". https://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/newsroom/updates/OPC091516.asp.
- "Eastern Shipbuilding Completes Offshore Patrol Cutter ICDR Milestone". http://maritime-executive.com/pressrelease/eastern-shipbuilding-completes-offshore-patrol-cutter-icdr-milestone. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
- "The Long Blue Line: the Nation’s first fleet, today’s Offshore Patrol Cutters". Coast Guard Compass. 3 August 2017. http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/2017/08/tlbl-first-fleet-offshore-patrol-cutters/. Retrieved 3 August 2017. "The first flight of 11 OPCs will include the Active, Argus, Diligence and Vigilant, named for four cutters of the first fleet and subsequent cutters with the same names. OPC Pickering will pay homage to the distinguished combat record of the Quasi-War cutter Pickering. OPC Ingham will carry the name of a 327-foot “Treasury”-class cutter that served with distinction in World War II. OPC Icarus will honor the cutter that sank one of the first Nazi U-boats after U.S. entry into World War II. OPCs Chase and Rush will bear two cutter names long associated with the Coast Guard, most recently with two high-endurance cutters of the 378-foot Hamilton-class. And, OPCs Alert and Reliance will bear the names of two famed workhorses of the medium-endurance cutter fleet."
- "Coast Guard Exercises Long Lead Time Materials Option For First Offshore Patrol Cutter". http://www.dcms.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Assistant-Commandant-for-Acquisitions-CG-9/Newsroom/OPC090717/. Retrieved 8 September 2017. "The Coast Guard exercised a fixed-price option to the service’s existing contract with Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc. of Panama City, Florida, today to procure long lead time materials for the first offshore patrol cutter (OPC). The total value of the option is $41.68 million. This covers the initial order of components and materials necessary to support the cutter’s construction including propeller and steering components, marine diesel engines, the ship integrated control system, switchboards and generators."
- "EASTERN SHIPBUILDING GROUP AWARDED LONG LEAD TIME MATERIAL (LLTM) CONTRACT FOR UNITED STATES COAST GUARD OFFSHORE PATROL CUTTER PROGRAM". http://www.easternshipbuilding.com/wp-content/sdaolpu/2017/09/OPC-LLTM-Press-Release-925-0912-Final.pdf.
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