“Design” an Offshore Patrol Cutter Today

opc2smallIf the 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters, WMSM-915 class, are built as planned, they will be the most ambitious shipbuilding project in the history of the Coast Guard.

According to the Acquisition Directorate the notional characteristics are as follows:

Number Planned:  25

Length:  357ft.

Propulsion:  Diesel engines

Max Sustained Speed:  25kts

Endurance:  45d

Range:  7,500nm

Crew:  16/75

Armament:  57mm medium caliber gun; M2 .50 cal. heavy machine gun

Stern Launch:  one Short Range Prosecutor and one Long Range Interceptor

Aviation Facilities:  One MH-65C and two vertical launch unmanned aerial 00hicles, or other combinations

These ships are far more capable than the 210s and 270s that they will replace. Assuming that the unit cost is about two thirds of that of the National Security Cutter (NSC), then this contract will be valued at twice that of the NSC. It seems likely that there will be pressure to scale down this project.

Right now the Coast Guard is deciding on the requirements for these ships. Is the notional ship the ship we need?

Is there something we need to add?

Are there things we could do without?

This is your chance to “design” a new cutter.

Maybe someone will be listening.

69 thoughts on ““Design” an Offshore Patrol Cutter Today

  1. I would look to Europe and the European Navies for design ideas for the new Offshore Patrol Cutters. I would look into the designs of the German Navy’s Braunschweig class corvette, the French Navy’s La Fayette class frigate, the Royal Netherlands Navy De Zeven Provinciën class frigate or Singapore’s Formidable class frigate. Even if the European designs are not good, I would consider looking at buying into the LCS 1 and LCS 2 designs such as either the USS Freedom or USS Independence.

    • If they were looking at the Netherlands (and I suspect Bollinger might, since they have a good relationship with Damen, as witnessed by the Sentinel and Marine Protector Class that are based on Damen designs), I’d say they are looking at the new Holland class, an OPV-class Damen is currently building for the Dutch Navy.Length: 354ft.Propulsion: Diesel-electricMax Sustained Speed: 22ktsRange: 5000nm (@15kts)Crew: 50 (max. 90)Armament: 1x 76mm, 1x30mm, 2x 12.7mmStern Launch: 1 RHIB (interceptor)Aviation Facilities: One NH-90 + hangarCost: €120 million a piece. (Half of this amount is for the radar, the Integrated Mast from Thales.)

      • I would bet my money that the US Coast Guard in the Future maybe tasking Bollinger to look to the European Navies for Designs of the next Offshore Patrol Cutters and buy the design from the European Navies. I do like the Dutch Navies Holland class Design and I think if they get some features of the Royal Netherlands Navy De Zeven Provinciën class frigate and the stealth capabilities of the French Navy’s La Fayette class frigate and combine them into the Dutch Holland class for the US Coast Guard. I think you would have a pretty cool ship for a bargain price.

        As for the Dutch navies Holland Class, I think it’s a pretty cool ship and I think the Holland class can suit very well for the US Coast Guard and especially in the Caribbean and the east coast. Here’s the info on the Dutch Navy’s Holland Class Off shore patrol boat
        http://www.damennaval.com/nl/company_product-range_holland-class-patrol-vessels.htm

        http://www.navyinside.nl/opv.html

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Zeven_Provinci%C3%ABn_class_frigate

      • Okay the third link is in Dutch and you have to find a way to translate Dutch to English.
        http://www.navyinside.nl/opv.html

        Also here is another ship I think the US Coast Guard should consider in their next Offshore Patrol Cutters is a design by the Damen group used for the Indonesian Navy & Royal Moroccan Navy and it’s the Sigma class corvette
        Displacement: 1692 tons
        Length: 90.71 meters (297.605 feet)
        Beam: 13.02 meters (42.7165 feet)
        Draft: 3.6 meters (11.8110 feet)
        Propulsion:
        2 x SEMT Pielstick 20PA6B STC rated at 8910 kW each driving a lightweight Geislinger[1] coupling combination BE 72/20/125N + BF 110/50/2H (steel – composite coupling combination)
        4 x Caterpillar 3406C TA generator rated at 350 kW each
        1 x Caterpillar 3304B emergency generator rated at 105 kW
        2 x shaft with Rolls Royce Kamewa 5 bladed CP propeller
        2 x Renk ASL94 single step reduction gear[2] with passive roll stabilization
        Speed:
        Maximum: 28 knots
        Cruising: 18 knots
        Economy: 14 knots
        Range:
        At cruising speed of 18 knots: 3600 Nm
        At economy speed of 14 knots: 4800 Nm
        Complement: 20, up to 80
        Armament:
        Anti-air missile: 2 x quad MBDA Mistral TETRAL, forward & aft
        Anti-surface missile: 4 x MBDA Exocet MM40 Block II
        Guns: Oto Melara 76 mm (A position)
        2 x 20 mm Denel Vektor G12 (Licensed copy of GIAT M693/F2) (B position)
        Torpedoes: EuroTorp 3A 244S Mode II/MU 90 in 2 x B515 launchers
        Links
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigma_class_corvette

  2. I would look to Europe and the European Navies for design ideas for the new Offshore Patrol Cutters. I would look into the designs of the German Navy's Braunschweig class corvette, the French Navy's La Fayette class frigate, the Royal Netherlands Navy De Zeven Provinciën class frigate or Singapore's Formidable class frigate. Even if the European designs are not good, I would consider looking at buying into the LCS 1 and LCS 2 designs such as either the USS Freedom or USS Independence.

  3. Make them all, the US will need all the platforms in can get, with the future budget requirements the navy is getting rid of all the FFGs and the LCS cost to much for what we get and might not be built in enough quantity, find a way to ensure that ASW can be added as a modular system if necessary and then I say just build them, no more arguing. If not we will be buying off the shelf from overseas someday and destroying our shipbuilding capabilities today.

  4. Make them all, the US will need all the platforms in can get, with the future budget requirements the navy is getting rid of all the FFGs and the LCS cost to much for what we get and might not be built in enough quantity, find a way to ensure that ASW can be added as a modular system if necessary and then I say just build them, no more arguing. If not we will be buying off the shelf from overseas someday and destroying our shipbuilding capabilities today.

  5. I would like them to have a modular capacity as well, so you can outfit them for different specific missions if needed. ASW, research, different weapons systems (gun, missiles maybe?) etc. If I am not mistaken, the NSC has something similar, and possibly the new patrol boats as well.

    On that subject, I think we under-arm our ships when we build them. One deck gun and some M2’s? Really, thats all we are putting on an almost 400′ ship? How about a couple of 25mms and a CIWS at minimum? I have seen 2nd world patrol boats with better weaponry. We really limit our usefulness in the National Defence mission by arming ourselves so lightly, in my opinion.

    • The NSC does have a CIWS. I have heard it was originally supposed to be the RAM (rolling airframe missile) version, but currently its the Vulcan-Phalanx version.

      I’m a little surprised that the NSCs don’t have 25mms (I don’t think) since the 378s have them. The stabilized versions are going on the Fast Response Cutters and so will be common place within the Coast Guard. I understand these mounts can be upgraded with weapons up to 40 mm.

      • Thanks….So far so good. I was dissappointed to notice that there was no associated pay increase! 😉

  6. When you think about this ask yourself what capabilities are needed?

    –Speed? is 25 knots enough? or can we get by with less?
    –Endurance? Do we need that much endurance? Do we need more? Less?
    –Boats? Are two boats enough? is this the right mix?
    –Helo facilities? One HH-65 and two UAVs enough? Should they be able to land MH-60s, should they be able to hanger them? Do we need a hanger at all?
    –NBC? Do they need the pressurized filtered gas tight envelope like the National Security cutters (NSC)?
    –Special Intelligence Spaces? Do we need them for this class as we have in the NSC?
    –Gun? Is the 57 mm the right gun. Do we need one installed or just space and weight reservation? Should we have a 5″ to allow it to do Naval gun fire Support?
    –Wartime missions? Should they be built to accommodate the Littoral Combat Ships’ (LCS) mission modules for ASW and Mine Warfare? If they can take MH-60s should they have the storage space for sono-buoys and weapons for the Navy versions? Should there be a place for the LCS’s NLOS missile: http://defense-update.com/products/n/netfires.htm

    Currently the program requires that the cutter be based on a parent craft, a ship already in service performing similar missions. Any suggestions as to which ship it should be based on?

  7. I would like them to have a modular capacity as well, so you can outfit them for different specific missions if needed. ASW, research, different weapons systems (gun, missiles maybe?) etc. If I am not mistaken, the NSC has something similar, and possibly the new patrol boats as well.On that subject, I think we under-arm our ships when we build them. One deck gun and some M2's? Really, thats all we are putting on an almost 400' ship? How about a couple of 25mms and a CIWS at minimum? I have seen 2nd world patrol boats with better weaponry. We really limit our usefulness in the National Defence mission by arming ourselves so lightly, in my opinion.

  8. When you think about this ask yourself what capabilities are needed?–Speed? is 25 knots enough? or can we get by with less?–Endurance? Do we need that much endurance? Do we need more? Less?–Boats? Are two boats enough? is this the right mix?–Helo facilities? One HH-65 and two UAVs enough? Should they be able to land MH-60s, should they be able to hanger them? Do we need a hanger at all?–NBC? Do they need the pressurized filtered gas tight envelope like the National Security cutters (NSC)?–Special Intelligence Spaces? Do we need them for this class as we have in the NSC?–Gun? Is the 57 mm the right gun. Do we need one installed or just space and weight reservation? Should we have a 5″ to allow it to do Naval gun fire Support?–Wartime missions? Should they be built to accommodate the Littoral Combat Ships' (LCS) mission modules for ASW and Mine Warfare? If they can take MH-60s should they have the storage space for sono-buoys and weapons for the Navy versions? Should there be a place for the LCS's NLOS missile: http://defense-update.com/products/n/netfires.htmCurrently the program requires that the cutter be based on a parent craft, a ship already in service performing similar missions. Any suggestions as to which ship it should be based on?

  9. If they were looking at the Netherlands (and I suspect Bollinger might, since they have a good relationship with Damen, as witnessed by the Sentinel and Marine Protector Class that are based on Damen designs), I'd say they are looking at the new Holland class, an OPV-class Damen is currently building for the Dutch Navy.Length: 354ft.Propulsion: Diesel-electricMax Sustained Speed: 22ktsRange: 5000nm (@15kts)Crew: 50 (max. 90)Armament: 1x 76mm, 1x30mm, 2x 12.7mmStern Launch: 1 RHIB (interceptor)Aviation Facilities: One NH-90 + hangarCost: €120 million a piece. (Half of this amount is for the radar, the Integrated Mast from Thales.)

    • I would look for a OPV with Ocean going capability and one that can at least keep up with the Amphibious Expeditionary group or even the carrier battle group. The designs I would look toward are ones that are in the frigate or Corvette class Such as
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Fayette_class_frigate
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Zeven_Provinci%C3%ABn_class_frigate
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formidable_class_frigate
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FREMM_multipurpose_frigate
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakhoda_Ragam_class_corvettes
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fridtjof_Nansen_class_frigate
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_class_frigate

      I think Bollinger and Damen might be looking at European Navies for their OPV designs based on the Current Frigates and Corvettes that are being used right now by the European Navies

      • Remember we are replacing 210s (1,050 tons) and 270s (1,780 tons). The notional cutter looks to be almost as large as a 378 (3,000 tons). I’d be very surprised if it ended up larger than 3,200 tons full load and 2,500 tons is much more realistic.

        Of those you mentioned only the British BAE designed Nakhoda Ragam falls into that displacement range. With a little stretch to add a hanger and increase range it might be a good choice.

        I like the Formidable for its two helicopter hanger, but it and all the others you suggest are probably to large to be contenders.

      • True, but I think we should be looking for an OPV that has ocean going capabilities but staying within the weight limits as well. Have a need for speed when it comes to chasing Pirates, drug runners and stopping other vessels. We need to have an OPV that is ocean going capable, Littoral capable and is capable to at least keep up with the Amphibious Expeditionary group when needed.I do like the design and stealth features of the Formidable class frigate,Valour class frigate, De Zeven Provinciën class frigate and the La Fayette class frigate. I would take all those features and try to put them into the Sigma class corvette or the Nakhoda Ragam class corvette and adding helicopter deck for a MH-60 or HH-65If I were Bollinger, I would tell Damen to look into a stretched version of the Sigma class corvette and the Nakhoda Ragam class corvette to add a flight deck that is capable for a MH 60 and HH-65

      • There is no single Sigma-class (SIGMA=Ship Integrated Geometrical Modularity Approach). There are currently 3 different type of vessels.* Indonesian: 1,700 ton* Moroccan: 2,075 ton & 2,335 tonAnd the Dutch OPVs are basically an enlarged Sigma, but specially tailored for the Dutch navy who generally design their own vessels.

  10. The NSC does have a CIWS. I have heard it was originally supposed to be the RAM (rolling airframe missile) version, but currently its the Vulcan-Phalanx version. I'm a little surprised that the NSCs don't have 25mms (I don't think) since the 378s have them. The stabilized versions are going on the Fast Response Cutters and so will be common place within the Coast Guard. I understand these mounts can be upgraded with weapons up to 40 mm.

  11. I would bet my money that the US Coast Guard in the Future maybe tasking Bollinger to look to the European Navies for Designs of the next Offshore Patrol Cutters and buy the design from the European Navies. I do like the Dutch Navies Holland class Design and I think if they get some features of the Royal Netherlands Navy De Zeven Provinciën class frigate and the stealth capabilities of the French Navy's La Fayette class frigate and combine them into the Dutch Holland class for the US Coast Guard. I think you would have a pretty cool ship for a bargain price.As for the Dutch navies Holland Class, I think it's a pretty cool ship and I think the Holland class can suit very well for the US Coast Guard and especially in the Caribbean and the east coast. Here's the info on the Dutch Navy's Holland Class Off shore patrol boathttp://www.damennaval.com/nl/company_product-rahttp://www.navyinside.nl/opv.htmlhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Zeven_Provinci%

  12. Okay the third link is in Dutch and you have to find a way to translate Dutch to English.http://www.navyinside.nl/opv.htmlAlso here is another ship I think the US Coast Guard should consider in their next Offshore Patrol Cutters is a design by the Damen group used for the Indonesian Navy & Royal Moroccan Navy and it's the Sigma class corvetteDisplacement: 1692 tonsLength: 90.71 meters (297.605 feet)Beam: 13.02 meters (42.7165 feet)Draft: 3.6 meters (11.8110 feet)Propulsion: 2 x SEMT Pielstick 20PA6B STC rated at 8910 kW each driving a lightweight Geislinger[1] coupling combination BE 72/20/125N + BF 110/50/2H (steel – composite coupling combination)4 x Caterpillar 3406C TA generator rated at 350 kW each1 x Caterpillar 3304B emergency generator rated at 105 kW2 x shaft with Rolls Royce Kamewa 5 bladed CP propeller2 x Renk ASL94 single step reduction gear[2] with passive roll stabilizationSpeed: Maximum: 28 knotsCruising: 18 knotsEconomy: 14 knotsRange: At cruising speed of 18 knots: 3600 NmAt economy speed of 14 knots: 4800 NmComplement: 20, up to 80Armament: Anti-air missile: 2 x quad MBDA Mistral TETRAL, forward & aftAnti-surface missile: 4 x MBDA Exocet MM40 Block IIGuns: Oto Melara 76 mm (A position)2 x 20 mm Denel Vektor G12 (Licensed copy of GIAT M693/F2) (B position)Torpedoes: EuroTorp 3A 244S Mode II/MU 90 in 2 x B515 launchersLinkshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigma_class_corvette

  13. Should the OPCs be optimized in any way to support the smaller cutters, such as alongside refueling while riding a sea painter?

    I’m not sure the Holland Class OPVs would qualify as a parent craft since they haven’t been built yet.

  14. These are my answers to some of my own questions. I’m generally pleased with the notional design. I would suggest some minor changes. The speed looks right. These ships will never run with carrier battle groups, but 25 knots will at least allow it to keep up with merchant ships and Navy amphibs and auxiliaries. Anthing less than 24 and it would not be able to do that. It should not take much if any increase in size to allow these ships to land and hanger the MH-60, and that would provide a lot of flexibility. I would hope we would do that. I would also hope that there would be space for weapons and sonobuoys for Navy MH-60s. The endurance should not be less than the 7500 miles currently planned. This is way better than the LCS, but is less than any of our existing MECs. These ships should be able to provide basic support to WPBs and Sentinel class cutters to extend their operations. Generous fuel storage would be helpful for this reason as well. I think we might dispense with the more sophisticated NBC defense if it adds appreciably to the cost. If things go nuclear, these ships will be out of there element anyway. The Sensitive Intelligence facility does seem essential to ships that may be operating independently at great distances from their bases. If at all possible, we should make these ships capable of accepting the Littoral Combat Ships’ mission modules, at least incorporating the ability to load a full set of ASW or Mine Counter-Measures modules on a pair of ships working in tandem. There should also be the capability to carry the Netfires NLOS. These ships should be equipped with the 5″ Mk 45 mount for two reasons. First if we ever have an attempt to make a suicide attack on a US port using a medium to large merchant ship, it will be difficult to stop it even with a 5″, but will be virtually impossible with a 57 mm. Second, it would give these ships a truly unique wartime mission as Naval Gun Fire Support (NGFS) ships. Yes, there are other ships that can do this, but they all have ASW or AAW missions that are likely to be higher priority. The cruisers and destroyers are likely to be out of position to do NGFS or will be considered too valuable to risk within gun range of a hostile shore. The 5″ Mk 45 mounts, at least in the early models, don’t weigh any more than the 5″/38s that used to be on every large cutter and require only minimal manning. There should be lots of them available in storage with the decommissioning of the Spruance class destroyers. Netfires NLOS would be useful for both of these missions as well. As for the parent craft, I don’t know where they got the notional ship, but how about a 327? The hull was perfect, we just have to bring everything else up to date.

    • I don’t even think the money is in the budget yet. They are waiting until the NSC and FRC program are finished. Hopefully they are using the time to develop a good solution.

  15. I think the post starters choice of words was very interesting – “If” the OPC is built.

    Given the bleak budget climate in DC, it will be very interesting to see if we get an OPC as currently contemplated.

  16. As a current NSC sailor here is my input:

    28 knots would be nice but they really should be the same series MTU’s as the NSC to keep cost of ownership down.

    C4ISR – What the NSC has is pretty good but it needs to be an in house design like the FRC. The big problem with the CGC2 system is that its proprietary LM software which is really expensive in a post LSI environment. If CG-6/9 want to go in a different direction that should be fine as long as they migrate the NSC’s over to a compatible system.

    Topside real estate – antennae space is like gold on these new ships. Look at the early pictures of a WHEC’s star deck, there was nothing there but their call sign painted on the deck. Look at an NSC, there isn’t an inch of usable room left. There needs to be enough VHF antennas (only 4 on NSC). Try monitoring CH 16, 13, launch a small boat, land a helicopter, and talk to a boarding team at the same time (already at five). Also, start out with KU band instead of INMARSAT.

    Berthing – 100 sq ft per person is a good goal but it really limits the available berthing. The NSC is at 146 berthing. The ICGS billet model of 108 proved to be wholly inadequate WRT non rates, ET’s, EM’s, and IT’s. WMSL 750 is already at 128. Once you add a six member AVDET and a six person IS detachment that only leaves six racks for a two UAS/UAV detachment and no room for the LEDET. There really needs to be either a completely accurate billet structure or an abundance of extra racks (about 200% of billets).

    Combat systems – MK53 DLS (NULKA&SRBOC) is a good start but please put a V5 SLQ-32 onboard. The MK48 57MM GWS is a great main battery so stick with that but it needs a 3-D SPQ-9B with the new MK-20 OSS. It needs to have an Air Search Radar (have heard rumors that it wouldn’t) and I would recommend sticking with the TRS (supportability issue since LCS and NSC have it). I think the MK38 Mod 2 (remotely operated,gyro stabilized 25MM is a good system but I’d prefer we stick with the CIWS for two reasons. First is the supportability issue, we have a lot of corporate knowledge for the CIWS which we don’t want to lose. Second, the CIWS 1B model is a better surface weapon than the MK38. The AA61 20MM Enhance Lethality round (ELC) is actually more deadly than a 25MM round. You also still retain the Air defense capability. I’d like to see the M2 machine guns replaced with ROSAM (same mount as FRC). They have a longer range, are more accurate, the mount accepts a variety of weapons, they can be controlled by fewer operators, can be slewed off of optics or radar, and can still be crew served if needed.

    Parent craft – A patrol boat is pretty much a patrol boat so a parent craft idea works well. This doesn’t translate well as you scale up. I think you would be hard pressed to find another Navy or CG worldwide with the same requirements as our USCG. WE don’t need corvettes or frigates. We don’t really need a cuter armed to the teeth. There is a reason we can go places the Navy doesn’t. If you’ve got missile envy then its time to switch services. I need weapons that can defend me against attack long enough so I can run away. Other than that I really only need a gun that can stop a merchant/fishing vessel and annihilate anything less than 100ft (a DLS, GWS, CIWS, MG mixture meets these needs). If we ever need the WMSL/OPC to join the great fleet then it doesn’t take much to add on Harpoon missiles.

    Cover the fantail – It’s the big problem with launching a stern boat for LE operations. I can remember sitting just inside the door fully dressed out in my LE gear to take down our first go fast and we couldn’t jump in the boat to load up and prep for launch until after the helicopter was off deck. In the end we were rushed to launch while scrambling around in the dark.

    Small boats – The OPC only needs two and they should both be the CB-OTH MKIV (new jet drive OTH WAESCHE is getting this summer). Its too hard to maintain proficiency on multiple platforms and it requires two separate types of spares.

    Displacement – Think about the long term. the NSC is already weight critical. Design a lot of growth into the available displacement for the OPC.

    Other than all of this just make sure the lessons learned from the NSC/WMSL process are incorporated.

    • For those not familiar with the system, information on the ROSAM selection is here. It is now designated the Mk 49 Mod 0 Gun Weapon system. At least two, with a minimum 360 degree coverage, would be a good addition. The sighting systems have other uses as well in terms of surveillance and case documentation in adverse weather.

      http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:78MGOo82Vx4J:www.dtic.mil/ndia/2004arms/session7/wasil.ppt+ROSAM&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

      The idea of using a parent craft is not mine, it’s the Coast Guard’s and it is their stated intention to identify one, but then all ships evolve from what has gone before to some degree. If we are talking 25 knots sustained, we are talking about a Corvette or Frigate hull. Even so that does not mean that it will be armed the same way. Still it would be nice to have a plan for weapons upgrade in place as we build the ship in case things turn to worms. Setting aside space and weight for weapons upgrades also tends to provide margins for normal operations too.

      As for adding Harpoon, as you noted the NSC is already weight critical. That does not bode well for even modest upgrades. Looks like there may be space for a 16 cell Mk 41 vertical launcher between the gun and superstructure. That would allow for 8 harpoons and 32 Evolved Seas Sparrow Missiles (packed 4 to a canister) which I think can be controlled by systems already on the ship, but there is the weight problem.

      I know the NSC has at least one position for Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) containers. If it can take the Netfires NLOS container, even with 60 missiles, it weighs a lot less. The missiles have less range and a much smaller warhead, but it can attack a wider range of targets including those on land. It is also more resistant to decoys and can attack more precisely.

      • It did but since it wasn’t the same size as the LCS design it was useless. also, it was converted to a stateroom to make up for a stateroom that was coverted for a comms/LAN room.

  17. Chuck hill,

    I agree with the requirments to support the smaller cutters. Astern refueling is preferred by PB’s to alongside refueling. The extra berthing would allow bringing augmentation crews onboard to support prolonged flotilla operations. WRT to NBS defense, the CG’s big threat is not the N but rather the B & S. The OPC is a first responder for a domestic attack and has to be able to remain on scene during/after a chemical or biological attack. Finally, the 5″ system is actually a lot more expensive than the 57MM. Size isn’t everything, the smaller round is actually more lethal and the 3P is much more versitlie. Also, the SPQ and ASR do have NGFS capability.

    • My concern with the 57 mm is that it does not have the penetrating power to take out hard pints in the NGFS role or to reach the vitals of a medium to large merchant ship in the maritime suicide bomber scenario, particularly if they have taken even modest steps to protect the critical ships systems and maintain buoyancy.

      As far as the expense there are 5″ systems on recently decommissioned ships that could be used. If we really wanted to save the tax payers some money we could arm them with the 76mm Mk 75, we already have enough of them on the 378s and 270s. It is still a well regarded weapon and there are upgrades available to make it even more effective.

      I would feel more comfortable about the 57mm, if I knew we would have a weapon on board that could reliably stop a ship. There have been some stories about very small very smart torpedoes (less than 7″ diameter) that could be used to attack the props. It should be relatively easy to re-manufacture obsolete ASW torpedoes to do this too.

      • 25mm armor penetration with 2,400 tungsten pellets exploding on the other side. Mission kill is the future of naval gun platforms. The super 76mm upgrade is too heavy, too complicated, and requires too many people to operate. You pay about 3 million more on the front end but make it up in the long run. also, the 76mm ammo is heavier and you need alot more to get the job done.

      • Chuck, the CG stood up MSRT and MSST programs for the purpose of taking over rougue shipping via armed helicopters and fast rope insertion. Besides the CG is more liekly going to entangle the props and turning the bridge to swiss cheese does help the situation. we could play up what if scenarios but there is a limited budget and room and you can’t arm a DHS platform based off of a once in a lifetime situation. Unfortunatley WHEC’s didn’t get 25MM’s until they found they couldn’t take out a F/V’s engines with M2’s. If we get in a bad place upgrades are an option.

      • Fast roping onto the deck of a ship in the hands of an Al Qaeda crew sounds like suicide and a Recipe for our very own “Blackhawk Down.” And do you really want to depend on trying to get a line in their screw? While they shoot back? And you can shoot at the bridge all day if the ship is being controlled from the steering gear room.

        57MMs are fine against aircraft, cruise missiles, and small boats, but I think you could empty the entire magazine into a medium to large ship and not sink it or even stop it in a timely manner.

  18. My concern with the 57 mm is that it does not have the penetrating power to take out hard pints in the NGFS role or to reach the vitals of a medium to large merchant ship in the maritime suicide bomber scenario, particularly if they have taken even modest steps to protect the critical ships systems and maintain buoyancy. As far as the expense there are 5″ systems on recently decommissioned ships that could be used. If we really wanted to save the tax payers some money we could arm them with the 76mm Mk 75, we already have enough of them on the 378s and 270s. It is still a well regarded weapon and there are upgrades available to make it even more effective. I would feel more comfortable about the 57mm, if I knew we would have a weapon on board that could reliably stop a ship. There have been some stories about very small very smart torpedoes (less than 7″ diameter) that could be used to attack the props. It should be relatively easy to re-manufacture obsolete ASW torpedoes to do this too.

  19. Chuck, the CG stood up MSRT and MSST programs for the purpose of taking over rougue shipping via armed helicopters and fast rope insertion. Besides the CG is more liekly going to entangle the props and turning the bridge to swiss cheese does help the situation. we could play up what if scenarios but there is a limited budget and room and you can't arm a DHS platform based off of a once in a lifetime situation. Unfortunatley WHEC's didn't get 25MM's until they found they couldn't take out a F/V's engines with M2's. If we get in a bad place upgrades are an option.

  20. It came up in English (mostly) for me. Generally I like the BAM. It's the right size and it has a good sized flight deck and hanger. Its not clear if it currently has a stern ramp for launching a boat, but it appears doable. I like the Hybrid Diesel Electric Propulsion and the ability to use containers to change the ship for different missionsI dislikes the 19 knot max continuous speed, but that might be improved.I'm not sure what they are saying here: “Endurance: 3,500 miles at 15 knots + 12 days at 6 knots + 3,500 at 12 knots.” If this means go out 3500 miles at 15; putter around on electric drive; then return 3,500 miles at 12 knots, then it is in the ballpark.

  21. Why another huge cutter? The NSCs are supposed to be replacing the 378’s, why are we building a 350′ ship to replace 210’s and 270’s? Similarly the 150′ FRC is on track to replace 87’s and 110’s. What’s inbetween? The 210 is just about the most compact design for a flight deck, two small boats, and some armament. It’s not like our bases and the places we visit are overflowing with pier space. We already have a fleet with a nice range of classes. We need to modernize and refine our current designs instead of reinventing the wheel.

  22. Why another huge cutter? The NSCs are supposed to be replacing the 378's, why are we building a 350' ship to replace 210's and 270's? Similarly the 150' FRC is on track to replace 87's and 110's. What's inbetween? The 210 is just about the most compact design for a flight deck, two small boats, and some armament. It's not like our bases and the places we visit are overflowing with pier space. We already have a fleet with a nice range of classes. We need to modernize and refine our current designs instead of reinventing the wheel.

  23. Why another huge cutter? The NSCs are supposed to be replacing the 378's, why are we building a 350' ship to replace 210's and 270's? Similarly the 150' FRC is on track to replace 87's and 110's. What's inbetween? The 210 is just about the most compact design for a flight deck, two small boats, and some armament. It's not like our bases and the places we visit are overflowing with pier space. We already have a fleet with a nice range of classes. We need to modernize and refine our current designs instead of reinventing the wheel.

  24. For the OPC a good buy would be something like the Braunschweig class corvette (German). She is about the right size for the specs I have seen on the OPC. Can also take some stuff away (weight wise) if needed.

    Added advantage is she is built for Baltic wx (baltic freezes in winter) as well as for interoperability with NATO and U.S ships

    Specs below.

    Type: Corvette
    Displacement: 1,840 tonnes (1,810 long tons)
    Length: 89.12 m (292 ft 5 in)
    Beam: 13.28 m (43 ft 7 in)
    Draft: 3.4 m (11 ft 2 in)
    Speed: 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph)
    Range: 4,000 nmi (7,400 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)[1]
    Endurance: 7 days; 21 days with tender
    Complement: 65 : 1 commander, 10 officers, 16 chief petty officers, 38 enlisted
    Sensors and
    processing systems: • TRS-3D multifunction radar
    • 2 navigation radars
    • MSSR 2000 i IFF system
    • MIRADOR electro-optical sensors
    • UL 5000 K ESM suite
    • Link 11 and Link 16 communications
    Electronic warfare
    and decoys: • 2 &times TKWA/MASS (Multi Ammunition Softkill System) decoy launcher
    • UL 5000 K ECM suite
    Armament: • 1 × Otobreda 76 mm gun
    • 2 × MLG 27 mm autocannons
    • 2 × 21-cell RAM launcher
    • 2 × 2-cell launcher with RBS-15 Mk.3 surface-to-surface missiles
    • Mine laying capability
    Aircraft carried: Helopad and Hangar for two Camcopter S-100

    • Generally the class looks pretty good. The questionable areas I see are the low freeboard, the limited aviation facilities (hanger and flight deck for UAV only), and limited range.

  25. Sorry to dredge up an old topic, but this is about the only place I’ve seen with a reasonable discussion. I agree wholeheartedly with Matthew. This OPC/WMEC has grown to nearly the size of a 378. Doesn’t make much sense from a mission and cost-to-operate point of view, as well as the points Matthew made. I think some of the issue here is “Admiral-itis”. Admirals want bigger fleets of bigger ships, regardless of what they cost to buy or operate or if they’re any good for the mission. Another part of the issue is that the CG & DHS allowed IDS too much freedom, and obviously the bigger ship would have made the company more money, so now we have admiral-itis and greed feeding on each other from both sides of the military-industrial complex…

    Some others commented above about the dearth of weaponry on a Cutter. In addition to the good points made above about what will actually be used and the unnecessary costs for including rarely-used items, I’d add that if we make any new cutter too militarily-capable (without some conversion work), the Natl. Cmd. Authorities will start diverting them away from their proper and needed mission to overseas “war” work. I can hear the congressional justifications now: “We paid to make these capable warships, so they need to be over in the war zone…” We need these here, in the Gulfs of Alaska and Mexico, the Bering and Carribean Seas, NOT in the Persian Gulf. If the Navy needs a shallow-draught, tight-waters vessel, let them build one, or buy some extras off the USCG contract and arm those up to the gills, but leave the CG here interdicting illegal drugs and immigrants and protecting our oceanic borders.

    What the USCG really needs here is about a 75-meter (~247′) ship with 90 day’s endurance, 30-35 kt capability, MH-65C handling ability, dual stern boat ramps, basic weapons (57mm & stabilized 25mm & M240s), some reserved space & weight for (possibly modular) additional weapons (couple 16-cell VLS or 12.75 triple tubes for Mk 50s) and their associated sensors and control stations. Although they weren’t too successful in the 210’s, a modern CODAG system will give both speed and efficiency (thought not simultaneously).

    Most-importantly, it needs unsinkable, unlimited-sea-state construction, rather than the shoddy boondoggle of the 123s & NDC! The CG is supposed to be able to handle any storm to come do its mission, and recent “economical” construction methods are going to lead to a disaster.

    Another tip from a non-naval-engineer: Build in a rescue deck amidships, as on the 47′ MLB. Ever watched the video of the CG trying to get 120 Haitians up and over the side of a 210′ on cargo nets? A portion of deck closer to the waterline with ladders (both fore and aft) leading up to the real height of the main deck would be most convenient for rescues and small-boat crew embarkation. Just as on the 47s, when it’s unneeded, it can be covered.

    • Bill,

      Wanting to be part of a navy function is part of the Coast Guard’s under lying character. Twice in it history, the officers of the Service asked for total transfer of the Service to the Navy.

      It is not about equipment, missions or “Admiral-itis” it is about respect. Since the 19th century, the officer corps has felt it has never been given the respect it deserves. There are a number of reasons both true and perceived.

      I find nothing wrong with the Coast Guard deploying with a fleet operation from time to time. During Prohibition, when the Coast Guard had the 4-stack tin cans, they would get the “squadrons” together at Tampa or Cape May and do exercised to increase their “naval” skills which are sorely needed.

      In 2000, I was teaching aboard a FFG in the Persian Gulf when Chase showed up with several other USN ships. Since Chase was the senior vessel, it directed the cruise across the Pacific. I spoke with a number of people aboard the USN vessels (one a 600-foot destroyer with many deployments under its belt) and they noted the command aboard Chase did not seem to know what he was doing. I am sure there were problems. The Coast Guard simply is not trained or practiced to do these functions.

      I am not in favor of building specialized patrol vessels. Build them all to withstand heavy weather. The 180s seemed to do very well (and still do) in all sorts of conditions. One of the design characteristics of the mid-eighteen nineties as to have each vessel capable of serving in any ocean. They were much smaller, with less speed, and virtually no communications.

      I would not be too enthralled about building a Coast Guard vessel that had too few naval capabilities.

  26. Oh, and I forgot another little brainstorm of mine – there should be a slightly enlarged version of this vessel (maybe 80-meters) with thicker hull plating and heavier reinforcement framing for ice operations, and a helo deck capable of handling the H-60 platform. I’d call these the “Arctic Patrol Cutter” and assign them to Dist. 17. These would replace the aging Storis, Acushnet, and Alex Haley, and free up the “standard” OPC for work in other geographic areas.

    Does it strike anyone else as funny that Marinette Marine seemed to be able to build quite sturdy tenders for the black-hull part of the fleet in reasonable time and with no-muss, no-fuss, while the attempts made by a gigantic military-industrial complex contractor down in Mississippi at the deepwater program lead to a congressional cancellation (or better-worded: delay) in the program??

    I know who I’d pick as a contractor for the OPC & my notional “APC”…

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