USCGC Eagle arrives in Iceland, hosts U.S.-Iceland meeting

Below is a LANTAREA news release. Eagle is in Iceland, but looks like more than a simple portcall.

The vessel seen in the third photo, background, right, is, I believe, the Icelandic Coast Guard cutter ICGV Þór (Thor).

Maybe while there, someone could take a look at this innovative hull form for motor surf boats and RHIBs.

united states coast guard
News Release
U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area

USCGC Eagle arrives in Iceland, hosts U.S.-Iceland meeting

USCGC Eagle arriving Iceland
USCGC Eagle wreath-laying for USCGC Hamilton
USCGC Eagle arriving Iceland
VADM Poulin meets with Dept. of State, Iceland leaders
Vice Adm. Steven Poulin, commander U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, shakes hands with Chargé d'Affaires Harry Kamian
Eagle hosts Iceland leaders, CO gives tour

Editors’ Note: To view more or download high-resolution imagery, click on the photos above.

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — USCGC Eagle (WIX 327), “America’s Tall Ship,” arrived in Reykjavik Wednesday and proceeded to host tours and senior officials through the weekend.

Aboard Eagle moored in the harbor, Vice Adm. Steven Poulin, commander U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, joined by Jonathan Moore, principal deputy assistant secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, met with Commadore Asgrimur Asgrimsson of the Icelandic coast guard, Chargé d’Affaires Harry Kamian, and Byrndis Kjartansdottir, director of security and defense directorate in the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“I congratulate Iceland on a successful Arctic Council and Arctic Coast Guard Forum chairmanship, and I thank them for their persistent and reliable partnership in the Arctic Council and Arctic Coast Guard Forum. Maintaining a strong, rules-based order in the Arctic remains a top priority, both for my command and the U.S. Coast Guard. Steadfast partners like Iceland enable and enforce this,” said Vice Adm. Steven Poulin. “It was a great pleasure to discuss the challenges we share with such dedicated colleagues learning more about our partner agencies and their operations.” 

The United States was the first country to recognize Iceland’s independence in 1944. In addition to being founding members of NATO, the United States and Iceland signed a bilateral defense agreement in 1951. Cooperation and mutual support are the foundation of the U.S.-Icelandic relationship. Visits such as Eagle’s allow opportunities to further effective partnerships, collaboration, and interoperability for various issues that can occur in the Arctic.   

For more than a century, the U.S. Coast Guard has been the visible U.S. surface presence in the Arctic, ensuring adherence to the rules-based order. We work with High North nations to safeguard and enable the uninterrupted flow of maritime commerce throughout the entire Marine Transportation System, including the burgeoning Arctic and ensure responsible stewardship of its resources. Allies and partners like Iceland are integral to protecting the United States’ enduring interests, preserving our mutual interests, and upholding the rules-based international order supporting good maritime governance.  

On approach to Iceland, Eagle’s crew conducted a wreath-laying in memory of the Treasury-class USCGC Hamilton (WPG 34), torpedoed by German submarine U-132 on January 30, 1942, patrolling the Icelandic coast near Reykjavík. Hamilton capsized and sank 28 miles (45 km) from the Icelandic coast on January 30, at the cost of 26 of the ship’s 221-person crew. In 2009, divers discovered the wreck in over 300 feet of water, and in 2013, a memorial plaque was placed in honor of those lost.  

Eagle is currently conducting summer U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadet training in at-sea leadership and professional development. Their first port call was Portugal in late May. Eagle has served as a classroom at sea to future Coast Guard officers since 1946, offering an at-sea leadership and professional development experience as part of the Coast Guard Academy curriculum.  

Eagle is a three-masted barque with more than 6,797 square meters (22,300 square feet) of sail and 9.7 kilometers (6 miles) of rigging. At 90 meters (295 feet) in length, Eagle is the largest tall ship flying the stars and stripes and the only active square-rigger in United States government service. For information about Eagle, including port cities, tour schedules, current events, as well as cadet and active duty crewmember photographs, follow the “United States Coast Guard Barque EAGLE” Facebook page or on Instagram @barqueeagle. All U.S. Coast Guard imagery is in the public domain and is encouraged to be shared widely.  

“Passenger Vessel Grounding Shows Risks of Arctic Travel” –Maritime Executive

Profile view of the starboard side of the Russian research vessel Akademik Ioffe. The gangway is lowered with a Zodiac at its base. Photo: Ryan Sharpe, via Wikipedia

Maritime Executive reports on the results of an investigation into the 24 August 2018 grounding of a small Russian flag, research vessel turned passenger ship, AKADEMIK IOFFE in the Canadian Arctic.

The area is still not surveyed to the extent we have come to expect in the rest of the world. Not to mention it is a long way between SAR facilities. This could have been a lot worse.

“Bollinger Submits Proposal for U.S. Coast Guard Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutter” –News Release

To no one’s surprise, Bollinger is competing for the Phase II Offshore Patrol Cutter Contract. Below is a press release I received today from the Company.

The country is really going need more shipyards capable of building warships. It would not be a bad thing for these Coast Guard contracts provide “trainer wheels” to prepare first Eastern and now a perhaps a second shipyard for even more complex projects. The newly expanded Bollinger might be able to replace now defunct Avondale shipyard.

Bollinger Submits Proposal for U.S. Coast Guard Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutter

  • Bollinger Shipyards has the necessary management and production experience, engineering expertise, and facilities
  • Proven record of success executing USCG Detail Design and Construction contracts
  • Project would help sustain Bollinger’s seasoned workforce through 2031

LOCKPORT, La., — (June 11, 2021) – Bollinger Shipyards (“Bollinger”), a privately-held and leading designer and builder of steel military and commercial vessels, today submitted its proposal to the United States Coast Guard to build Stage 2 of the Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) program. If chosen, Bollinger would construct and deliver a total of 11 vessels to the U.S. Coast Guard over the next decade, helping to sustain the Bollinger workforce through 2031.

“Bollinger is the right shipyard at the right time to build the Offshore Patrol Cutter program for the U.S. Coast Guard.” said Ben Bordelon, Bollinger President and CEO. “Our long history building for the Coast Guard is unparalleled and has shown time and time again that Bollinger can successfully deliver the highest quality vessels on an aggressive production schedule.”

Bollinger has been actively involved in every step of the U.S. Coast Guard’s OPC acquisition process, including execution of the Stage 1 Preliminary and Contract Design, where the Company was included in the final three shipyards, as well as execution of the OPC Stage 2 Industry Study. This unique experience ensures Bollinger’s understanding of every detail and aspect of the program.

Bordelon continued, “Bollinger has the existing capability and capacity using our proven serial production build strategy and an experienced management team and workforce. Our production approach is based on our established and mature processes and tools, which integrate design development, production, and lifecycle considerations. Our unique experience results in a reliable production schedule and cost so that we can deliver high-quality vessels on time and on budget.”

Notably, in its current program for the U.S. Coast Guard, Bollinger has delivered Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter hulls 1139 through 1144 a total of 127 days ahead of the contract schedule, despite the incredible challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic and a historic hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico impacting Louisiana’s coast.

Bollinger has a long history building for the U.S. Coast Guard, delivering 170 vessels in the last three decades alone. This includes the Island Class (49 delivered), the Marine Protector Class (77 delivered), and now the Sentinel Class (44 of 64 delivered to-date).

About the Offshore Patrol Cutter Program

Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs) will provide the majority of offshore presence for the Coast Guard’s cutter fleet, bridging the capabilities of the 418-foot national security cutters, which patrol the open ocean, and the Bollinger-built 154-foot fast response cutters, which serve closer to shore. The OPCs will conduct missions including law enforcement, drug and migrant interdiction, search and rescue, and other homeland security and defense operations. Each OPC will be capable of deploying independently or as part of task groups and serving as a mobile command and control platform for surge operations such as hurricane response, mass migration incidents and other events. The cutters will also support Arctic objectives by helping regulate and protect emerging commerce and energy exploration in Alaska.

About Bollinger Shipyards LLC

Bollinger Shipyards LLC ( has a 75-year legacy as a leading designer and builder of high performance military patrol boats and salvage vessels, research vessels, ocean-going double hull barges, offshore oil field support vessels, tugboats, rigs, lift boats, inland waterways push boats, barges, and other steel and aluminum products from its new construction shipyards as part of the U. S. industrial base. Bollinger has 11 shipyards, all strategically located throughout Louisiana with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi River and the Intracoastal Waterway. Bollinger is the largest vessel repair company in the Gulf of Mexico region.

“Enterprise Revisited: Titanium is the USCG Vessel Procurement Magic Bullet” –Marine Link

“Coast Guard Cutter Forward and Coast Guard Cutter Bear, homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia, finish an at-sea transfer while underway on a two-month patrol. Coast Guard Cutter Forward returned to homeport on April 10, 2021.” (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

We all know, the Coast Guard will continue to use cutters long after there nominal life. Maybe we should act on that, by looking at using more durable material. Marine Link talks about how making hulls of titanium could provide significant savings in the long run.

The proposed rationale for maintaining the option of up-arming cutters is also interesting.

I will just quote their conclusion, but take a look at the whole rationale.

“The bigger the Navy (and USCG combination), the cooler it gets. It especially argues for building lots of USCG cutter hulls, but leaving them mostly unoutfitted for naval combat. One can build 20 titanium USCG cutters for the life cycle cost of 10 steel hulls, and make them ready for sea, but only install one ship with the best weapons package. The world will know that you can build something that can dominate the battle space, but there is no need to fit all 20 with the latest and the greatest (which saves enough money to build a couple of additional hulls) if there is no immediate threat of war. Meanwhile the “enemy” will know that when they start to rattle their sabers you will not have 10 (if built in steel) obsolescent hulls, but instead will have access to more than 19 hulls that can be fitted with the hottest weapons much more quickly. This is a much better result than having 10 old “fancy steel” units and actually will defer cost until it is needed. This thinking already works with steel hulls, but if the hulls do not waste away it becomes even more cost effective and further strengthens Dr. Daidola’s argument.

“So here we have three clever engineers who have developed two independent USCG procurement approaches, which each save incredible amounts of money, and, when combined, save even more money.”

“Northrop Grumman to Develop C5ISR and Control Systems for US Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutters”

Below is a Northrop Grumman press release.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – June 8, 2020 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has been awarded a newly expanded role as systems integrator for C5ISR and control systems on the U.S. Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), by Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG), the prime contractor for the OPC program.Northrop Grumman to Develop C5ISR and Control Systems for US Coast Guard Offshore Patrol CuttersArtist’s rendition of USCGC ARGUS, the first vessel of the Heritage Class Fleet of Offshore Patrol Cutters. (Image courtesy Eastern Shipbuilding Group)

In a newly expanded role as C5ISR systems integrator, Northrop Grumman is responsible for integrating all cyber hardened C5ISR systems, including command and control, communications, navigation and the shipboard computer networking systems.

“With C5ISR and control system test and integration underway, the ESG-Northrop Grumman team hasn’t missed a beat,” said Todd Leavitt, vice president, maritime systems and integration, Northrop Grumman. “The effort and resiliency shown by our teammates at Eastern Shipbuilding Group has been outstanding.”

Northrop Grumman’s responsibilities for the OPC platform include the integrated bridge, navigation, command and control, computing network, data distribution, machinery control, and propulsion control systems, cyber/information assurance, testing and integration work.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

“Don’t Neuter the Medium-Endurance Cutter Fleet” –USNI

The June 2021 edition of the U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings has a short article by Captain Michael Cilenti, USCG, currently CO of USCGC Tampa, in the “Professional Notes” section, pp 78-79, about the service life extension program (SLEP) planned for six of the 270 foot WMECs. It is available on line if you are a USNI member.

Captain Cilenti, confirms what we have suspected, that the 76mm Mk75 gun and Mk92 firecontrol will be replaced by a 25mm Mk38, the same gun currently used on the Webber class WPCs.

The Captain is concerned primarily because the loss of the Mk92 means the loss of the ships’ most capable radar. The Mk92 is a multi-function radar. In addition to providing firecontrol, it is the ships’ only air search, and its most sensitive surface search. It is more effective in detecting the targets such as low profile semi-submersibles.

Capt Cilenti suggests that there is are alternatives already in or planned for Coast Guard use that could be installed to provide these capabilities. He suggest the AN/SPS-75 (TRS-3D), currently installed on the Bertholf class National Security Cutters and the Freedom class LCS, or the AN/SPS-77, planned for the Offshore Patrol Cutters and currently used on the Independence class LCS.

He notes that the addition of a multi-mode radar would allow the 270s to control emergency helicopter low visibility approaches by the embarked helicopter and facilitate UAS operations.

I hope someone is paying attention to the Captain’s plea. Adding a modern multi-mode radar and a UAS system such as V-BAT, could give us WMECs that are more capable than ever, of performing their law enforcement and SAR missions, while requiring few crew members and less extensive training. Deleting the Mk92 firecontrol system without replacement will leave these ships little more capable than the 210s and probably preclude installation of more capable Unmanned Air Systems.

The 270 SLEPs will begin in the near term. A decision to retain and enhance these ships sensor capability is urgent.

Late Addition:

I would suggest that the 25mm Mk38 be mounted up a deck, like the gun of the very similar Irish Naval Service Offshore Patrol Vessel LÉ Eithne pictured below. This would provide a greater degree of protection from green water coming over the bow.

LÉ ‘Eithne’ is a ship in the Irish Naval Service completed in 1984. Photo 16 August 2009 by Ross.


Dmitry Shulgin reports the successful test of a new rocket assisted, laser homing round, the “Guided Multipurpose Munition” (GMM), for the Carl Gustaf Recoilless Rifle (M3E1 in US service) and the AT4 single shot, recoilless, smooth bore, disposable, anti-tank weapon (designated M136 in US service).

The M3E1 is the US version of the M4. An updated M3 using titanium makes the weapon system six pounds lighter, 2.5 inches shorter and has an improved carrying handle, extra shoulder padding and an improved sighting system that can be adjusted for better comfort.

We talked about the possibility of Coast Guard use of the Carl Gustaf before. The M3E1 is now a common weapon that will arm every US Marine infantry squad. In the US Army there will be one for every platoon.

It may be that the laser guided round is only a Special Forces requirement, but after development it is almost certain to become more generally available.

This would not be a comprehensive answer to the Coast Guard need to be able to counter a terrorist attack by surface vessel, regardless of size. Even with the new round, it does not have the 4,000 yard range I believe desirable to minimize the probability of effective counter fire from improvised armament. It is unlikely to be effective against larger vessels, but, particularly with the new guided round, it could certainly be effective against small, fast, highly maneuverable threats.

There is always a concern for providing security for a highly portable weapon like this, but security requirements for these weapons and their ammunition should be comparable to that provided for machine guns.

As noted earlier, if things get hot for PATFORSWA, the cutters there could benefit from having a Marine detachment aboard that can employ the Carl Gustaf.

Other than the PATFORSWA, the first Coast Guard units that should receive armament upgrades are the force protection units that escort Fleet Ballistic Missile Subs during surface transit.

“U.S. Coast Guard ready to partner with nations in battling IUU fishing” –IndoPacific Defense Forum

A picture taken on November 16, 2011 from a South Korean helicopter shows Chinese boats banded together with ropes, chased by a coastguard helicopter and rubber boats pacted with commandoes, after alleged illegal fishing in South Korean waters in the Yellow Sea. Credit: Dong-A-Ilbo

“The United Nations declared June 5 an international day for the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in late 2017. Yet, on the fourth observance of the annual awareness campaign, the global challenges continue to grow.”

The IndoPacific Defense Forum, which is sponsored by the United State Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) is apparently telling the nations of their area of responsibility that the Coast Guard is ready to assist them in combatting IUU fishing. Specifically that we can,

  • Promote targeted, effective, intelligence-driven enforcement operations.
  • Counter predatory and irresponsible state behavior.
  • Expand multilateral fisheries enforcement cooperation.

To paraphrase Roy Scheider from the movie “Jaws,” I think we are going to need more boats.

“LCI(L) 85: The Four- Leaf Clover”

LCI(L) 85 shortly before she sank, D-Day, 6 June 1944.

Earlier today, I passed along a story about one Coast Guardsman’s experience on D-Day on my CG Blog Facebook page.

Got a response from a reader who linked a longer tale of the Coastie’s ship, LCI(L) 85: The Four- Leaf Clover. This is the story of a very small ship, about the same size as a Webber class WPC, one that did not even rate a name, in a very big war. Several crewmembers were discussed including what happened to them after D-Day and after the war. Its a great story.

I’ve added both stories to my heritage page. There are several other D-Day stories there as well.

Thanks to Tom Wade for bringing this to my attention.