“Canada to build 18 more Coast Guard vessels” –Marine Log

Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship (Royal Canadian Navy photo)

MarineLog is reporting that Canada is planning to build 18 additional ships for the Canadian Coast Guard including two additional Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS, a type previously built for the Royal Canadian Navy).

They will also add a third shipyard to the national shipbuilding strategy.

The cost may appear out of line. The total for the 18 ships, C$15.7 billion (about US$11.7 billion) averages US$650M per ship. That is more than the average cost of the contract with options for three USCG Polar Security Cutters ($1.9B for three ships or $633M on average), but the price is not final and it appears it may include extended support.

The C$15.7 billion funding for the 18 large ships in represents early estimates of project budgets including construction, logistics and support, contingency, project management and infrastructure costs. The costs of each ship will be announced following contract negotiations.

Still there is likely to be some criticism.

There is also mention of an intention to also build some smaller vessels,

The Government of Canada will also proceed through a competitive process with the design of a new class of smaller ships, the new Mid-Shore Multi-Mission Ship, which would complement the work of the large fleet in shallow areas and deliver mid-shore science activities.

All in all, good news for the Canadian Coast Guard and an investment in ship building in Canada, assuming it actually happens. Like the US Coast Guard, they have had their problems. 

Coast Guard History Coming Back On-Line

The 83-foot Coast Guard cutter USCG 1 off Omaha Beach on the morning of D-Day, tied up to an LCT and the Samuel Chase

When the Coast Guard switched all of its on-line servers to the DOD system, now many months ago, it was frankly a disaster for those of us who frequently look for Coast Guard history information on line. It resulted in a large number of broken links on my “Heritage” page, and loss of access to many documents. I have not purged the broken links because I hope the titles will reemerge. Of course this information is still out there, but its just no longer available on-line.

It appears they have been working to rebuild the site on the new servers. They seem to have done a lot in preparation for the upcoming 75th D-Day Anniversary. Unfortunately there are still huge holes in the on-line presence. The cutter section is particular thin, including only Active and the Coast Guard manned LCI(L)s that participated in the Normandy invasion, but it does appear they are laying the ground work for more complete information.

While the site is certainly not comprehensive yet, it is at least getting more interesting.

A recent addition is listed as a chronology, but it is really more of a “This Day in Coast Guard History.” Below is a sample.

May 23

1928  CGC Haida and the USLHT Cedar rescued 312 passengers and crew from the sailing vessel Star of Falkland near Unimak Pass, Alaska after Star of Falkland had run aground in the fog the previous evening.  Both the cutter and the tender managed to save all but eight from the sailing vessel.  This rescue was one of the most successful in Coast Guard history and was also one of the few instances where the Coast Guard and one of its future integrated agencies worked together to perform a major rescue.

1930  Lieutenant Commander Elmer F. Stone received a medal from Congress for extraordinary achievement in making the first successful trans-Atlantic flight in 1919.  Stone was the pilot of the Navy’s NC-4.

1946  Commodore Edward M. Webster, USCG, headed the US Delegation to the International Meeting on Radio Aids to Marine Navigation, which was held in London, England.  As a result of this meeting, the principal maritime nations of the world agreed to make an intensive study of the World War II-developed devices of radar, LORAN, radar beacons, and other navigational aids with a view to adapt them to peacetime use.  This was the first time that the wartime technical secrets of radar and LORAN were generally disclosed to the public. [USCG Public Information Division News Release, 7 June 1946.]

1972  President Richard Nixon and the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, N. V. Podgorny, signed the “Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.”  Under the agreement, the U.S. Coast Guard was the lead U.S. agency, in association with the EPA and MARAD, for the Task Group on Prevention and Cleanup of Pollution of the Marine Environment from Shipping.

Meanwhile if you are looking for Coast Guard history, there may be more on-line information and certainly a huge number of photographs on the Naval History and Heritage web site. Here is a good example. Also Wikipedia can be a good source.

“Coast Guard Needs Congress for Budget Bailout” –National Defense

US Capital West Side, by Martin Falbisoner

National Defense reports that the Administration’s 2020 budget request makes deep cuts in the Coast Guard budget compared to recent years, but that there is a good chance Congress will make up at least some of the difference.

You can see a brief summary of the budget submission here.

We have Congress plus up the Coast Guard’s budget in the past, particularly in terms of increasing numbers of Webber class cutters funded. The 2020 budget includes only two. This is likely to be increased to four or even six.

Congress has also added three Bertholf class NSC to the program of record and there have been suggestions that a 12th is needed to fully replace the 378 foot WHECs. If we are to get a 12th NSC, it almost has to happen in FY2020 before we OPC construction goes to two per year and before we need to fund Polar Security Cutters 2-6.

The Commandant has been talking about maintenance backlogs recently. Unfortunately maintenance does not have the highly visible job creation impact of new construction, although the dollar for dollar impact may be as great. It seldom makes the evening news, so this may be a harder sell.

 

Sea-Air-Space 2019 Virtual Tour

Like most of you I did not make it to the Navy League’s 2019 Sea-Air-Space Exposition, so I have found some YouTube reports that can at least provide some of the information passed along at the event. The descriptions below each video are from the YouTube description.

Day 1 video coverage at the Sea Air Space 2019 exposition. In this video we cover:
– Boeing MQ-25 Stingray aerial refueling drone with Rear Admiral Corey
– Future USVs and XLUUV/Orca programs with Captain Pete Small
– Austal USA new range of medium and large size USVs
Textron Systems CUSV with surface warfare payload
– ST Engineering range of USVs

Day 2 video coverage at the Sea Air Space 2019 exposition. In this video we cover:
– Raytheon SPY-6 radar
– Raytheon / Kongsberg NSM for USMC
– Northrop Grumman PGK for naval 5 Inch and 155mm guns
– Lockheed Martin Freedom-class lethality and survivability upgrade
– Lockheed Martin FFG(X)
– Navantia / BIW FFG(X)

Day 3 video coverage at the Sea Air Space 2019 exposition. Washington-based naval expert Chris Cavas is our guest speaker for this third and final day at Sea Air Space 2019. Cavas covers the follow topics:
– Bell V-247 Vigilant VTOL tilt-rotor UAV in U.S. Navy configuration
– Austal USA USV concepts
– Austal USA FFG(X) Frigate
– Fincantieri FFG(X) Frigate
– GD Bath Iron Works FFG(X) Frigate
– Lockheed Martin Type 26 CSC
– Lockheed Martin hypervelocity missile
– Mic drop

Sea Machines, Hike Metal to Collaborate on SAR Autonomy” –MarineLink

Marine Link reports an attempt to build an unmanned rescue vessel.

Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics announced today a new partnership with Hike Metal, a world-class manufacturer of workboats based in Ontario, Canada, to integrate Sea Machines’ SM300 autonomous vessel control system aboard commercial vessels tasked with search-and-rescue (SAR) missions.

Unmanned is “all the rage,” but once you get on scene, you never know what you will find. The victim you are attempting to help may need medical assistance, they may not be able to move to shelter provided by the boat.

Automated systems could operate like a smart cruise control on your car, navigating to a designated position and even follow the rules of the road. Automated systems can reduce manning requirements, but when the SAR vessel gets on scene, you need the versatility of a human being to respond to the unexpected.

(Writing this feels some how wrong. Am I being reactionary? Isn’t this obvious to everyone? Still felt like I had to say something. Good systems could come out of this, but full autonomy is just too much to expect.)