Names for First Eleven OPCs Announced

The Coast Guard has announced the first eleven names for the Offshore Patrol Cutters, which will be called the Heritage-class.

Names are listed below. The links are those provided in the announcement to identify source of the name.

  1. Argus (WMSM-915)
  2. Chase (WMSM 916)
  3. Ingham (WMSM 917)
  4. Rush (WMSM 918) (No link provided but refers to the WHEC’s combat in Vietnam, also I believe this appropriate)
  5. Pickering (WMSM 919) 
  6. Icarus (WMSM 920) and here
  7. Active (WMSM 921)
  8. Diligence (WMSM 922)
  9. Alert (WMSM 923)
  10. Vigilant (WMSM 924)
  11. Reliance (WMSM 925)

I am once again reminded how much I hate the WMSM and WMSL designations. They violate all the norms of ship type designation. Why don’t we just designate both class WPF–Coast Guard Patrol Frigate. The 75 Coast Guard manned frigates of WWII were designated PFs. It might even help the Commandant’s plea, that the Coast Guard be funded as a military service, if the vessel descriptions sounded more like warships.

Thanks to Luke for bringing this to my attention. 

Warning Shots–Persian Gulf

UN Naval Institute reports on the most recent run in between US naval forces and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp.

You probably heard about this but may have missed the fact that Coast Guard Cutters were also there.

“Thunderbolt was operating with two Coast Guard cutters and a U.S. Army logistics vessel in a screen around the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG-72) as part of a U.S.-only exercise when the formation was approached by the Iranian PC, the official said.”

Is it possible the video above was shot from a cutter?

India Launches First Two of Five OPVs

The Indian Navy has announced the launching of the first two of a new class of five Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs). Three more of the class are expected by the end of the year.

Within the Indian Navy, these are unique in that they are being built by a private, rather than a government, shipyard.

Wikipedia reports that these vessels are 110 meters in length (Same as the Offshore Patrol Cutter) with a displacement of 2000 tons (this appears to be light displacement). They are armed with  an OTO Melara 76mm super rapid gun mount (SRGM) and two 30mm AK-630M six barrel Gatling guns. It is powered by twin diesels 18,200 kW (24,400 HP) for a maximum speed of 25 knots.

India has both a Coast Guard and a Navy, and both operated Offshore Patrol Vessels. The Coast Guard was established in 1978 and operates under the Ministry of Defense. Indian CG OPVs tend to be more lightly armed than their Navy counterparts.

The Indian Navy currently operates ten Offshore Patrol Vessels.

The Indian Coast Guard currently operates 16 Offshore Patrol Vessels and three larger “Pollution Control Vessels” which also function as OPVs.

The oldest of the Indian Coast Guard OPV was commissioned in 1983. The oldest Indian Navy OPV was commissioned in 1989.

German Navy to Test Asymmetric Weapons

Former  FGS Karlsruhe

NavalToday reports that the 33 year old former FGS Karlsruhe, a now decommissioned 3,680 ton frigate, will be used in a live weapons test.

What makes this test unique is,

“According to the German news site Kieler Nachrichten, the navy also plans to asses how asymmetric threats affect the ship. For these tests, the navy plans to use smaller weapons and rockets as they are used by terrorists and pirates.”

I hope we will get access to the results and will apply lessons learned to our new construction.

Laser Icebreaker?

Project 23550, Ivan Papanin class icebreaking patrol vessel, with towing capability and containerized cruise missiles.

The National Interest is reporting that the Russians are planning to use lasers as a way to facilitate icebreaking.

…. “Later this year, scientists aboard the Dixon, a Russian diesel-powered icebreaker operating in the White Sea, will begin testing of a 30-kilowatt ship-based laser, designed specifically for easing the movement of ships operating in the Arctic environment,” Sputnik News said. “The project involves experts from the Moscow-based Astrofizika Design Institute, with the assistance of St. Petersburg’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute.”

A Russian physicist told Russian media that the new laser is designed as an ice cutter rather than a weapon. “We’re talking about easing as much as possible navigation through northern regions. In addition, it’s necessary to test empirically calculations, create the system, measure energy consumption and calculate many other parameters. For the first stage this is enough.”

The author of the post may be a bit confused. He refers to,

More details are emerging about Russia’s trump card for control of the Arctic: laser-armed, nuclear-powered “combat icebreakers.”

But he refers to the Project 23550 (Ivan Papanin) class icebreaking patrol vessels which we talked about earlier, armed but relatively small (for an icebreaker) and definitely not nuclear powered icebreaking patrol ships with provision for mounting containerized cruise missiles.

The author seems to have assumed that the laser could also be used as a weapon although the mounting and targeting requirements for a laser weapon would be much different.

Despite the author’s apparent confusion, this is the first I have heard of using lasers to facilitate icebreaking. Using one to open a crack in the ice before the bow hits might be worthwhile. Whether it is even feasible ought to be something that could be determined mathematically.

Sounds like something worth looking at.

Naval Research Lab Develops New Paint

Port side view of USS Essex (LHD 2) after full application of an NRL-developed 1K polysiloxane topcoat in 2017.

NavalToday is reporting that the Naval Research Laboratory has developed a new topside paint that will last longer and is both cheaper and easy to apply. Now it has had its first large-scale application, USS Essex.

Single-component refers to an all-in-one-can system that does not require the measuring and mixing of two or more components before application, thus providing a “user-friendly” system for Sailors when applying on ships.

“The 1K polysiloxane is easy to use. There is no mixing, surface preparation is easy, and it covers well,” said Lt. j.g. Donald Ham, Essex’s Assistant Deck Department Head. “We painted our entire hull with approximately 320 gallons of the 1K, whereas it would have taken greater quantities of qualified two-component (2K) polysiloxanes. Thus, we not only saved time, but we saved money. The best part is that the 1K polysiloxane rolls-on the ship just like the legacy silicone alkyds.”

New Zealand and Chile Agree on SAR responsibility

New Zealand and Chile agree on SAR responsibility

NavalToday reports New Zealand and Chile have concluded an agreement delineating SAR responsibility over an area of roughly 60 million square kilometers that extends all the way to the South Pole and includes area Coast Guard Polar Icebreakers will routinely transit on the way to Antarctica.

Ultimately this may have some impact on territorial claims to Antarctica.