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USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750)
USCG National Security Cutter BERTHOLF (WMSL-750)
USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750)
Career (USCG) Ensign of the United States Coast Guard.svg
Namesake: Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf, USCG
Ordered: January 2001
Builder: Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Pascagoula, Mississippi
Cost: $641 million[1]
Laid down: March 29, 2005
Launched: September 29, 2006
Christened: November 11, 2006
Commissioned: August 4, 2008
Homeport: Integrated Support Command Alameda
Motto: "Legends Begin Here"
Status: Commissioned
General characteristics
Type: National Security Cutter
Displacement: 4500 LT
Length: 418 feet (127.40 meters)
Beam: 54 feet (16.46 meters)
Draft: 22.5 feet (6.86 meters)
Propulsion: Combined diesel and gas
2 × 7.400 kW diesel engines
1 × 22.000 kW gas turbine engine[2]
Speed: 28+ knots
Range: 12,000 nm
Complement: 113 (14 Officers)
Sensors and
processing systems:
EADS TRS-3D Air Search Radar
SPQ-9B Fire Control Radar
AN/SPS-73 Surface Search Radar
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System
2 SRBOC/ 2 NULKA countermeasures chaff/rapid decoy launcher
Armament: 57 mm gun and Gunfire Control System
Close-In Weapons System
4 50 Caliber Machine Guns
2 M240B 7.62mm Light Machine Guns
Aircraft carried: (2) MH-65C Dolphin MCH, or (4) VUAV or (1) MH-65C Dolphin MCH and (2) VUAV
Aviation facilities: 50x80 foot flight deck, hangar for all aircraft

USCGC Bertholf (WMSL 750) is the first Legend-class maritime security cutter of the United States Coast Guard. She is named for Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf, fourth Commandant of both the Revenue Cutter Service and Coast Guard.

In 2005, construction began at Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was launched on September 29, 2006,[3] christened November 11, 2006,[4] and commissioned on August 4, 2008. The cutter's home port is Alameda, California. Bertholf was the first to fire the Bofors 57 mm gun aboard a U.S. vessel on the 11th of February 2008.[1]

National Security CutterEdit

Bertholf is the lead ship of the National Security Cutter design and the first large ship to be built under the Coast Guard's multi-year Deepwater acquisitions project. The NSCs are to replace the fleet's aging 378-foot Hamilton-class cutters.


  • Automated weapon systems
  • Medium-caliber deck gun (57 mm)
  • Helicopter launch and recovery pad with rail-based aircraft retrieval system and two aircraft hangars
  • Stern boat well for small boat launch and recovery
  • bow thruster
  • State-of-the-art C4ISR improving interoperability between Coast Guard and DoD[5]
  • Detection and defense capabilities against chemical, biological, or radiological attack
  • Advanced sensors for intelligence collection and sharing
  • Real-time tracking and seamless Common Operational Picture/Maritime Domain Awareness via integration with Rescue 21
  • Advanced state-of-the-art Ships Integrated Control System (Machinery Control, Steering, Navigation) for reduced manpower requirements and improved automation
  • Cassidian (EADS) TRS-3D/16-ES Air Search Radar for area surveillance[6]

Deepwater ControversyEdit

The Deepwater program was subjected to public scrutiny in late 2006 and early 2007 following reports of overspending and design flaws. Specifically, the issues with Bertholf relate to the projected life of the ship. Originally the Coast Guard had expected the cutter to be a single-crew vessel, and spend a normal amount of time in port and underway. However, the US Coast Guard decided to implement a multi-crew system, similar but distinct to what the US Navy uses on its ballistic missile submarines. Rather than the Navy's system of two crews sharing a single hull, the CG multi-crew concept involve both multiple crews and multiple hulls. The addition of the multi-crewing enables the ship to spend more time at sea each year, but also decreases the expected lifespan of the vessel from 30 years to 20 years.


External linksEdit

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