54 thoughts on “WMEC270 to OPC

  1. Before you set off on this journey… can we get some history from an old-timer. I’ve heard folklore that the 270 was really something more like a 330 or so. Then budget issues came up and the Coast Guard lopped off about 60 ft amidship. Can anyone validate this urban legend? I guess that would be a coastie-legend. The 270 is so odd in some ways, it makes this odd yarn seem plausible.

  2. I was in headquarters at the time and involved in funding the training facility for the “COMDAC” command and control system on the 270. The Chief of Engineering was very frugal and saw the cost of the ship as strongly related to its length. I heard stories that it was designed at his insistence as a 267 and engineers had to beg for another three feet just to get a little sheer on the bow. I was only on the periphery, but no I don’t think there serious consideration of anything larger, at least not beyond the conceptual stage. We heard almost identical stories about the evolution of the 255 design (also untrue).

    To put it into perspective, the 270s were almost twice as big as the previous class of WMECs (210s) and looked positively svelte compared to the ex Navy fleet tugs that were our other MECs. Before the 210s, our WMECs were 125s (230 tons<13 knots) and 165s (350 tons 16 kts) (same size as the FRC).

    At the time there was serious consideration of equipping the ships with the AN/SQR-19 towed array.

  3. Before you set off on this journey… can we get some history from an old-timer. I've heard folklore that the 270 was really something more like a 330 or so. Then budget issues came up and the Coast Guard lopped off about 60 ft amidship. Can anyone validate this urban legend? I guess that would be a coastie-legend. The 270 is so odd in some ways, it makes this odd yarn seem plausible.

  4. I was in headquarters at the time and involved in funding the training facility for the “COMDAC” command and control system on the 270. The Chief of Engineering was very frugal and saw the cost of the ship as strongly related to its length. I heard stories that it was designed at his insistence as a 267 and engineers had to beg for another three feet just to get a little sheer on the bow. I was only on the periphery, but no I don't think there serious consideration of anything larger, at least not beyond the conceptual stage. We heard almost identical stories about the evolution of the 255 design (also untrue). To put it into perspective, the 270s were almost twice as big as the previous class of WMECs (210s) and looked positively svelte compared to the ex Navy fleet tugs that were our other MECs. Before the 210s, our WMECs were 125s (230 tons<13 knots) and 165 (350 tons 16 kts) (same size as the FRC).At the time there was serious consideration of equipping the ships with the AN/SQR-19 towed array.

  5. @Mike, my spouse says he’s aware of this legend also. He said he noticed on the CGC BEAR there is a false door, which reads “gym” and leads to nowhere. He associates this with the lopping off of feet you speak of.

    – Just a Girl in a Port

  6. @Mike, my spouse says he's aware of this legend also. He said he noticed on the CGC BEAR there is a false door, which reads “gym” and leads to nowhere. He associates this with the lopping off of feet you speak of.- Just a Girl in a Port

  7. I’m a Boatswain’s Mate currently assigned to a 270. I’ve heard the “lopping off” rumor as well. The version I got was that it was supposed to be 300′ but there would have been only eight delievered, so they got a higher number of stumpy cutter instead.

    Improvements:
    The 270′ has no real towing bitt, we are forced to use a mooring bitt on the fantail instead. Not cool when towing a 150′ fishing vessel. All of the bitts are too close to the chocks and are inherently unsafe during mooring evolutions. The 2nd boat davit is located far aft on the port side of the fantail. Launching the boat there is dangerous in any kind of seas. If a large cutter is outfitted with multiple small boats, they should launch from amidships or if aft, from a ramp system similar to what the NSCs were given. The chain lockers of a 270 barely accomodate stowwage of the anchor chains. It is actually such a tight fit, that when we weigh anchor, we actually have to have personnel physically stacking the chain in the locker, otherwise it piles up and gets jammed in the chain pipe and we can’t depart our anchorage. If they’re going to put the stabilizer fins on new platforms, they need to do it right. The fins on the 270′ are the same size as the ones on a 110′. They don’t provide the stable platform we often need when trying to land a helo. Either take your time and do it right, or just don’t do it. Due to our lack of a bow thruster like the 378′ has, we often have to spend large sums of money on tugboats when we tie up. I’d imagine that over the past 20 years of service, this cutter has surpassed the cost of installing a bow thruster in the first place (spending it on tugs instead). As a Coxswain and OOD, I’m not a big fan of the 270. It will be difficult NOT to improve on this platform.

    Just a deck ape’s opinion. I’m sure there’s some twidgits out there with something to say about SCCS, the radars, IMARSAT, or some other technical item.

    • The fantail gets crowded when you add boat handling to towing. I never felt comfortable about putting the boat davit back that far where pitching is exaggerated.

      Wonder how the NSC towing capability is working out.

      When I came in the service, the towing bit was a very prominent feature on all large cutters, and they all had a huge taffrail. If I remember correctly the specification was the ability to tow a 10,000 ton vessel. We seem to have moved away from the towing business.

  8. I'm a Boatswain's Mate currently assigned to a 270. I've heard the “lopping off” rumor as well. The version I got was that it was supposed to be 300' but there would have been only eight delievered, so they got a higher number of stumpy cutter instead.Improvements:The 270' has no real towing bitt, we are forced to use a mooring bitt on the fantail instead. Not cool when towing a 150' fishing vessel. All of the bitts are too close to the chocks and are inherently unsafe during mooring evolutions. The 2nd boat davit is located far aft on the port side of the fantail. Launching the boat there is dangerous in any kind of seas. If a large cutter is outfitted with multiple small boats, they should launch from amidships or if aft, from a ramp system similar to what the NSCs were given. The chain lockers of a 270 barely accomodate stowwage of the anchor chains. It is actually such a tight fit, that when we weigh anchor, we actually have to have personnel physically stacking the chain in the locker, otherwise it piles up and gets jammed in the chain pipe and we can't depart our anchorage. If they're going to put the stabilizer fins on new platforms, they need to do it right. The fins on the 270' are the same size as the ones on a 110'. They don't provide the stable platform we often need when trying to land a helo. Either take your time and do it right, or just don't do it. Due to our lack of a bow thruster like the 378' has, we often have to spend large sums of money on tugboats when we tie up. I'd imagine that over the past 20 years of service, this cutter has surpassed the cost of installing a bow thruster in the first place (spending it on tugs instead). As a Coxswain and OOD, I'm not a big fan of the 270. It will be difficult NOT to improve on this platform.Just a deck ape's opinion. I'm sure there's some twidgits out there with something to say about SCCS, the radars, IMARSAT, or some other technical item.

  9. I would look at replacing the WMEC 210’s and 270’s with a common OPV. I would look at the dutch Navy and look at the Holland class OPV as a potential replacement for the WMEC 210’s and 270’s that are being built for the Dutch Navy. Even from the the Dutch design I hear it’s far better and
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Dutch_Navy_offshore_patrol_vessels
    http://www.informationdissemination.net/2010/03/holland-class-opvs-will-need-change.html
    Here’s a Picture of the Dutch Navy Holland Class OPV

    I would also look at the Sigma Class Corvette as a possible replacement as well.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigma_class_corvette

      • I think the one thing I never liked about the 270’s is that you can’t modularize. You don’t have the room to expand with the latest and greatest technology. Their is no Stern Launch Ramp Capability.

        I do like more speed in a Cutter. More room for modularization and have room to expand with the latest and greatest technology. A mandatory stern Launch ramp. A cutter that has the ability to keep up with Amphibious expeditionary group or Carrier Battle group, when needed.

      • Sounds like you agree with the notional requirement for 25 knots? Think that’s about right?

        Some other features I noticed about the Holland Class:
        –Hybrid propulsion
        –Ability to carry containers
        –It has an unusually complex integrated sensor/mast
        –Some spaces are armored
        –It has blast resistant bulkheads.
        –the hull is mild steal instead of high strength steal because it is more blast resistant

      • Bit of a late reaction but:

        –It has an unusually complex integrated sensor/mast
        –the hull is mild steal instead of high strength steal because it is more blast resistant

        Don’t know if the mast is unusually complex, but it’s definitely overkill for an OPV or CG vessel.

        The hull is mild steal, because it is cheaper than high tension steal. And with a a top speed of 22 knots it doesn’t need the high tension steal. The blast resistant part is just a bonus, not the reason it was chosen.

      • Thanks, yes the mast/sensor complex is a bit out of place since it approaches Aegis capabilities.
        They are very controversial ships even in the Netherlands. Do think they were thinking about passive protection since parts of the ship are armored. Speed seems unnecessarily low. I do like the idea of the hybrid propulsion.

      • Yep, very controversial (see also my article on informationdissemination Nicky mentions). Main complaint is: we’re replacing 6 Porsches (M-class) with 4 Fords.

        They are so slow because of their width and length. They’re just about 6 feet wider than the Karel Doorman Class (M-class). If you want them to go 25 knots, you need about 60% more power. And that costs money, which the Dutch didn’t have.

        Looking here, you see why the notional charateristics say 25 knots for the OPC:

        When you get into the high wave drag you need to double the amount of power for every additional knot.

  10. I would look at replacing the WMEC 210's and 270's with a common OPV. I would look at the dutch Navy and look at the Holland class OPV as a potential replacement for the WMEC 210's and 270's that are being built for the Dutch Navy. Even from the the Dutch design I hear it's far better and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Dutch_Navy_http://www.informationdissemination.net/2010/03…Here's a Picture of the Dutch Navy Holland Class OPVhttp://www.fixxpro.nl/cms5/upload/images/Patrou…I would also look at the Sigma Class Corvette as a possible replacement as well.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigma_class_corvette

  11. I say this only partially tongue-in-cheek: design the next large cutter in modules, built in as many congressional districts as possible. Modern shipyard technology makes this possible. It was the Air Force strategy to get congressional support for the C-17.. a successful strategy. Build the engine room in Mississippi, the super-structure in Newport News, the basic hull in the Great Lakes, the electronics in San Jose.. etc.

    Thanks for bringing this thread up. It’s using social media for constructive dialogue, which we don’t see allot of today.

  12. I say this only partially tongue-in-cheek: design the next large cutter in modules, built in as many congressional districts as possible. Modern shipyard technology makes this possible. It was the Air Force strategy to get congressional support for the C-17.. a successful strategy. Build the engine room in Mississippi, the super-structure in Newport News, the basic hull in the Great Lakes, the electronics in San Jose.. etc.Thanks for bringing this thread up. It's using social media for constructive dialogue, which we don't see allot of today.

  13. The fantail gets crowded when you add boat handling to towing. I never felt comfortable about putting the boat davit back that far where pitching is exaggerated. Wonder how the NSC towing capability is working out. When I came in the service, the towing bit was a very prominent feature on all large cutters, and they all had a huge taffrail. If I remember correctly the specification was the ability to tow a 10,000 ton vessel. We seem to have moved away from the towing business.

  14. I think the one thing I never liked about the 270's is that you can't modularize. You don't have the room to expand with the latest and greatest technology. Their is no Stern Launch Ramp Capability.I do like more speed in a Cutter. More room for modularization and have room to expand with the latest and greatest technology. A mandatory stern Launch ramp. A cutter that has the ability to keep up with Amphibious expeditionary group or Carrier Battle group, when needed.

  15. Sounds like you agree with the notional requirement for 25 knots? Think that's about right?Some other features I noticed about the Holland Class:–Hybrid propulsion–Ability to carry containers–It has an unusually complex integrated sensor/mast–Some spaces are armored–It has blast resistant bulkheads.–the hull is mild steal instead of high strength steal because it is more blast resistant

  16. I notice that Acquisitions branch has pulled the more detailed description of the OPC. It still list some basic description, but the specific conceptual design is no longer shown. I expect this is because what will come out of the review may be very different, and probably much smaller.

    http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/OPC/features.asp

    Rather than get into a discussion of what type of foreign ship we should buy, (we already did that) I hope we will identify the characteristics that seem desirable.

    Speed? 20, 25, 30 knots?
    Endurance?
    Range?
    Type of machinery?
    Aircraft facilities? Size? number? UAVs
    Boat Handling facilities? How many? Size?
    Sensors? Air Search? Sonar? I/O?
    Weapons? Fire Control?
    Protection? NBC? ESM? ECM? Ballistic protection?
    #Boarding Parties?1, 2, 3?
    Operating area? Arctic? Ice belt?

  17. I notice that Acquisitions branch has pulled the more detailed description of the OPC. It still list some basic description, but the specific conceptual design is no longer shown. http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/OPC/features.aspRather than get into a discussion of what type of foreign ship we should buy, (we already did that) I hope we will identify the characteristics that seem desirable. Speed? 20, 25, 30 knots?Endurance? Range?Type of machinery?Aircraft facilities? Size? number? UAVsBoat Handling facilities? How many? Size?Sensors? Air Search? Sonar? I/O?Weapons? Fire Control?Protection? NBC? ESM? ECM? Ballistic protection?#Boarding Parties?1, 2, 3?Operating area? Arctic? Ice belt?

  18. One primary thing that all forget when people compare Coast Guard vessels to those of small navies. They forget that the comparisons are of navies to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has only wanted to be “naval” a few times in its existence and the desire never centered around ships.

    I was in CGHQ when the plans of the 270 were being chopped around to the various offices. I can only recall saying ‘who designed this piece if crap.’ There were similar comments about not having to sail them.

    The Coast Guard no longer, as proven by Deepwater, has institutional sea-going knowledge to explain what it wants or needs. If they did, they would have never allowed the 110′ conversion.

    BTW, The 125s and 165 were never WMECs. The were WSC and WPC respectively. The WMEC came into being with the 210s about the same time the 125s and 165s were taken out of service.

      • I may not have been clear. I noted that people spend far too much energy in comparing the two different entities and purposes. Despite the law and some limited perception the Coast Guard has only a very limited naval function. The USN does not consider the 270 more than messenger and not a very fast one at that. With no ASW capability, it isn’t even any good for escort work except to take a torpedo.

        I understand the Secretary Class was built around a navy power plant and some of the hull but the Coast Guard did the rest. They also built four at a time. That sped up construction and lowered costs. That class of ships was the most convertible of all the Coast Guard has ever had. Just look at the WWII configurations from their original.

        I understand the Bob Scheina wrote about the reclassification to WMEC and he is probably right. However, I was at D8 District Armory in 1967 and we’d ship things to them. I know I typed DD-1149s with the old designation from the SDL. Perhaps the SDL had not caught up. I was a Galveston in 1968 and Texas had Kimball, McLane and Triton. Panama City had Cartigan.

        The 1968 Coast Guardman’s Manual still uses the old designations, but these were probably just reprints of the earlier copies. The editor of the CGM made many errors like this. My error.

      • According to Bob Scheina’s book, the Eries and the Secretary class hulls were identical below the waterline.

        Proud to say I was a 327 sailor. I think the reason they were so successful was that they were better than they had to be, larger than contemporary destroyers, 50% larger than previous cutters and four knots faster and they had significant margin for growth. They went from 2350 tons on trials in 1936 to 2750 tons in 1945.

    • There were cutterman and othrs in HQ debating the merits of the 123′ conversion.
      As to the 210′,it was also originally desiganated a Patrol Craft with 2 week endurance. They routinely deploy to the EPAC conducting the same mission as the WHEC (sometimes with more success). The OPC needs seakeeping (sea state 5) ability and strategic speed (no not tactical or the ability to keep up with the USN TG or go fast interdiction.) Stratwgic speed allows repositioning to get in front of a case, or surge on short notice to another location. I’d agree 25 knot capability is reguired. As to requirements. DON’T allow the CG to continue to define requirements based on cost. Define the REQUIREMENT! If we can’t afford it that is another story. Build a platform that will be able to grow with the organization most important sea keeping and speed capability with plenty of room for weight additionals as new technology become affordable. DON’t build a ship that is weight critical from delivery.
      Give me a fast ship for I intend to go in harms way…

      • “Give me a fast ship for I intend to go in harms way…”

        Heck, I’d rather have one that could get out of its own way. When I instructed aboard USS Kersarge (with a flight deck large enough to put six 311s) it would do 40+ knots. I know, I sailed her from Norfolk to Zaire (Congo) in a straight shot with one refueling.

      • It is the nature of displacement hulls that it is a lot easier to make a long ship go fast than a small one. Making a WMSM (OFC) go 40 knots would involve a lot of trade offs.

  19. One primary thing that all forget when people compare Coast Guard vessels to those of small navies. They forget that the comparisons are of navies to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has only wanted to be “naval” a few times in its existence and the desire never centered around ships. I was in CGHQ when the plans of the 270 were being chopped around to the various offices. I can only recall saying 'who designed this piece if crap.' There were similar comments about not having to sail them. The Coast Guard no longer, as proven by Deepwater, has institutional sea-going knowledge to explain what it wants or needs. If they did, they would have never allowed the 110' conversion.BTW, The 125s and 165 were never WMECs. The were WSC and WPC respectively. The WMEC came into being with the 210s about the same time the 125s and 165s were taken out of service.

  20. In 1966 the remaining 125s and 165s were reclassified as WMECs just as the 311s, 255s, and 327s were reclassified as WHECs.

  21. I don't think it is correct to say we can not learn anything from looking at ships that are built for navies rather than Coast Guards. The most celebrated large cutters are the 327s and they were based on a Navy design-the Charleston Class gunboats. Beside many small navies perform Coast Guard functions.

  22. I may not have been clear. I noted that people spend far too much energy in comparing the two different entities and purposes. Despite the law and some limited perception the Coast Guard has only a very limited naval function. The USN does not consider the 270 more than messenger and not a very fast one at that. With no ASW capability, it isn't even any good for escort work except to take a torpedo. I understand the Secretary Class was built around a navy power plant and some of the hull but the Coast Guard did the rest. They also built four at a time. That sped up construction and lowered costs. That class of ships was the most convertible of all the Coast Guard has ever had. Just look at the WWII configurations from their original. I understand the Bob Scheina wrote about the reclassification to WMEC and he is probably right. However, I was at D8 District Armory in 1967 and we'd ship things to them. I know I typed DD-1149s with the old designation from the SDL. Perhaps the SDL had not caught up. I was a Galveston in 1968 and Texas had Kimball, McLane and Triton. Panama City had Cartigan. The 1968 Coast Guardman's Manual still uses the old designations, but these were probably just reprints of the earlier copies. The editor of the CGM made many errors like this. My error.

  23. There were cutterman and othrs in HQ debating the merits of the 123' conversion. As to the 210',it was also originally desiganated a Patrol Craft with 2 week endurance. They routinely deploy to the EPAC conducting the same mission as the WHEC (sometimes with more success). The OPC needs seakeeping (sea state 5) ability and strategic speed (no not tactical or the ability to keep up with the USN TG or go fast interdiction.) Stratwgic speed allows repositioning to get in front of a case, or surge on short notice to another location. I'd agree 25 knot capability is reguired. As to requirements. DON'T allow the CG to continue to define requirements based on cost. Define the REQUIREMENT! If we can't afford it that is another story. Build a platform that will be able to grow with the organization most important sea keeping and speed capability with plenty of room for weight additionals as new technology become affordable. DON't build a ship that is weight critical from delivery. Give me a fast ship for I intend to go in harms way…

  24. As an old 270 BM, I have to say that I actually liked the ship. We never had any issues with the anchor chains jamming up in the chain locker. No towing bit, but we really didn’t tow that much, so it wasn’t a huge deal. The Port Quarter Launch of the RHIB wasn’t a problem either. Agreed Stern Launch would be nice, but often times the lee there was better then for the MLB. The Fins: yes, too small!
    Tech and times have changed, been over 10 years since I have been on a 270′, but in it’s day, not a bad platform.
    Oh ya… Birthing Areas sucked… and crew lounge sucked 🙂 They could make those better….
    Essayons!

    • I could be snide and say that the first thing they need is a bow, but basically the 270s meet our basic requirements, that is why I think it could serve as “parent craft” for the next generation. An updated 327s would work too, it had a great riding hull even without stabilizers.

      • From 82′ to 378′ with stops in the black hull fleet, I’d still rate my cadet cruise on a 327″ as the best ride.

  25. As an old 270 BM, I have to say that I actually liked the ship. We never had any issues with the anchor chains jamming up in the chain locker. No towing bit, but we really didn't tow that much, so it wasn't a huge deal. The Port Quarter Launch of the RHIB wasn't a problem either. Agreed Stern Launch would be nice, but often times the lee there was better then for the MLB. The Fins: yes, too small! Tech and times have changed, been over 10 years since I have been on a 270', but in it's day, not a bad platform.Oh ya… Birthing Areas sucked… and crew lounge sucked 🙂 They could make those better…. Essayons!

  26. “Give me a fast ship for I intend to go in harms way…”Heck, I'd rather have one that could get out of its own way. When I instructed aboard USS Kersarge (with a flight deck large enough to put six 311s) it would do 40+ knots. I know, I sailed her from Norfolk to Zaire (Congo) in a straight shot with one refueling.

  27. According to Bob Scheina's book, the Eries and the Secretary class hulls were identical below the waterline.Proud to say I was a 327 sailor. I think the reason they were so successful was that they were better than they had to be, larger than contemporary destroyers, 50% larger than previous cutters and four knots faster and they had significant margin for growth. They went from 2350 tons on trials in 1936 to 2750 tons in 1945.

  28. I could be snide and say that the first thing they need is a bow, but basically the 270s meet our basic requirements, that is why I think it could serve as “parent craft” for the next generation. An updated 327s would work too, it had a great riding hull even without stabilizers.

  29. It is the nature of displacement hulls that it is a lot easier to make a long ship go fast than a small one. Making a WMSM (OFC) go 40 knots would involve a lot of trade offs.

  30. I was a plank owner on a 270′, I can’t believe it’s been 20+ years(I still refer to the ship as “new’).

    As for improvements there are so many to consider it would be just as well to start from keel up and begin a new class. I’m not sure why the CG built more than 4 of this ship (A Class) as it was not a good design(speed, habitabilty, mission adaptability) when compared with the ships it was replacing(327, 311 class). My feeling on ship design, (especially where a new class is concerned) is that one example should be built, field tested and if found acceptible, build a further number of vessels. To build(or modify a design like the 110’s) en mass and discover HQ has authorized a sea going Edsel is almost criminal.

    For example when the Japanese choose the path as a world class naval power, they put down the requirments for what they wanted as a powerful warship. As they were smart enough to realize they had no experience in building a battleship, they contracted the world experts, the British, to construct it, and, upon delivery, the Imperial naval staff evaluated it. When satisfied with what the Brits provided, the Japanese used it as a “working” example and as the saying goes the rest is history, they built the most powerful naval fleet in the Pacific. The CG should take note, they build so few ships over long time periods, generations of HQ naval architects equal hit and miss consistency. But back to the 270 question…
    I always felt the flight deck should have been extended as far back as the transom similar to many European ships. This would facilitate an overhead rail system for launching the RHI on the stern. The system with the articulated crane “spinning” the boat from stern to bow plus all the related hydralics was a Rube Goldberg system. Sure it worked but it was overkill.
    As much of the Coast Guards good work is SAR related it would have been wise to be able to work from the deck in all evolutions and to traverse the ship via the weatherdeck, similar to the 210’s or 378’s. Having to proceed fore or aft through the ships superstructure rather than walking on the weather deck was very different from other ships I served on. I note that US Navy ships have moved away from weather deck capabilities but a vessel tasked with SAR as a main mission an open deck has its advantages. Another shortcoming was the LARGE hanger the class carries. In two years aboard I only recall using (extending) the hanger once with a helo embarked, just to see if it could be done. And lets not forget the empty Aviation store spaces devoid of spare parts for the helos, what a waste! And the empty towed array sonar room, more waste! If the hanger wasn’t part of the ships design, the pilot house could have been moved AMIDSHIPS where stability as well as visiblity would have been an asset(and look more like a ship). ASW helicopters were a big deal when the design specs were drawn up but the designers never took into consideration the required “adaptability” so inherent in the nature of the CG missions..which translates into “changing missions” equals ditch the hanger. Oh well, when we took delivery, the ship came equipped with 8-track tape players…
    Lastly, let me put in my 2 cents on habitability. As naval designs changed and most warships got bigger to accomodate new weapon systems the crews berthing seems to have remained the same in size as WWII vessels. I’m not sure why the 270’s went against this trend(being smaller than a 327) as the electronics, radios, radar, sensors, helo deck, hanger all crammed in 270 feet. With this in mind why in the world would you have “lounges” on a ship when they couldn’t accomodate the divisions assigned to them. Our so called forward lounge served supply, 1st class and engineering. The most bodies this “space” could seat is 8 people and there were about 40+ crewmen. It would have been more prudent to convert the “lounges” to crew berthing. This berthing would have provided 2 high racks for the majority of the crew with a minimum of 3 high racks (which were like sleeping in a coffin with one side missing). The social fabric of the sea going tradition dictates that the crew has social interaction on the mess deck, so lose the sardine can lounges. Plus having a 2 high racks affords a place to read in quiet or study an Institute course. Ever try to sit up in a 3 high? It may sound like a small thing but an old bosun told me that “your rack is your only bit of space underway on the ship”. “Lounges belong on cruise ships not CG cutters. In fairness, the sleeping arrangement for the CPO’s and the “O”‘s was inferior to the berths on the 210’s, even the CO’s cabin on a 270 was like a sleeper on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief. When I think back to the spacious accomodations on the Duane or Bibb, it makes sense to make the crew’s living spaces bearable, one spends considerable time using them underway.
    Looking back though, my time on the 270 was my favorite tour underway, we had a great CO and XO and nothing smells as good as a factory fresh ship. With the possible exception of a new car!

  31. I was a plank owner on a 270', I can't believe it's been 20+ years(I still refer to the ship as “new'). As for improvements there are so many to consider it would be just as well to start from keel up and begin a new class. I'm not sure why the CG built more than 4 of this ship (A Class) as it was not a good design(speed, habitabilty, mission adaptability) when compared with the ships it was replacing(327, 311 class). My feeling on ship design, (especially where a new class is concerned) is that one example should be built, field tested and if found acceptible, build a further number of vessels. To build(or modify a design like the 110's) en mass and discover HQ has authorized a sea going Edsel is almost criminal. For example when the Japanese choose the path as a world class naval power, they put down the requirments for what they wanted as a powerful warship. As they were smart enough to realize they had no experience in building a battleship, they contracted the world experts, the British, to construct it, and, upon delivery, the Imperial naval staff evaluated it. When satisfied with what the Brits provided, the Japanese used it as a “working” example and as the saying goes the rest is history, they built the most powerful naval fleet in the Pacific. The CG should take note, they build so few ships over long time periods, generations of HQ naval architects equal hit and miss consistency. But back to the 270 question… I always felt the flight deck should have been extended as far back as the transom similar to many European ships. This would facilitate an overhead rail system for launching the RHI on the stern. The system with the articulated crane “spinning” the boat from stern to bow plus all the related hydralics was a Rube Goldberg system. Sure it worked but it was overkill. As much of the Coast Guards good work is SAR related it would have been wise to be able to work from the deck in all evolutions and to traverse the ship via the weatherdeck, similar to the 210's or 378's. Having to proceed fore or aft through the ships superstructure rather than walking on the weather deck was very different from other ships I served on. I note that US Navy ships have moved away from weather deck capabilities but a vessel tasked with SAR as a main mission an open deck has its advantages. Another shortcoming was the LARGE hanger the class carries. In two years aboard I only recall using (extending) the hanger once with a helo embarked, just to see if it could be done. And lets not forget the empty Aviation store spaces devoid of spare parts for the helos, what a waste! And the empty towed array sonar room, more waste! If the hanger wasn't part of the ships design, the pilot house could have been moved AMIDSHIPS where stability as well as visiblity would have been an asset(and look more like a ship). ASW helicopters were a big deal when the design specs were drawn up but the designers never took into consideration the required “adaptability” so inherent in the nature of the CG missions..which translates into “changing missions” equals ditch the hanger. Oh well, when we took delivery, the ship came equipped with 8-track tape players…Lastly, let me put in my 2 cents on habitability. As naval designs changed and most warships got bigger to accomodate new weapon systems the crews berthing seems to have remained the same in size as WWII vessels. I'm not sure why the 270's went against this trend(being smaller than a 327) as the electronics, radios, radar, sensors, helo deck, hanger all crammed in 270 feet. With this in mind why in the world would you have “lounges” on a ship when they couldn't accomodate the divisions assigned to them. Our so called forward lounge served supply, 1st class and engineering. The most bodies this “space” could seat is 8 people and there were about 40+ crewmen. It would have been more prudent to convert the “lounges” to crew berthing. This berthing would have provided 2 high racks for the majority of the crew with a minimum of 3 high racks (which were like sleeping in a coffin with one side missing). The social fabric of the sea going tradition dictates that the crew has social interaction on the mess deck, so lose the sardine can lounges. Plus having a 2 high racks affords a place to read in quiet or study an Institute course. Ever try to sit up in a 3 high? It may sound like a small thing but an old bosun told me that “your rack is your only bit of space underway on the ship”. “Lounges belong on cruise ships not CG cutters. In fairness, the sleeping arrangement for the CPO's and the “O”'s was inferior to the berths on the 210's, even the CO's cabin on a 270 was like a sleeper on Amtrak's Southwest Chief. When I think back to the spacious accomodations on the Duane or Bibb, it makes sense to make the crew's living spaces bearable, one spends considerable time using them underway. Looking back though, my time on the 270 was my favorite tour underway, we had a great CO and XO and nothing smells as good as a factory fresh ship. With the possible exception of a new car!

  32. I was a plank owner on a 270', I can't believe it's been 20+ years(I still refer to the ship as “new'). As for improvements there are so many to consider it would be just as well to start from keel up and begin a new class. I'm not sure why the CG built more than 4 of this ship (A Class) as it was not a good design(speed, habitabilty, mission adaptability) when compared with the ships it was replacing(327, 311 class). My feeling on ship design, (especially where a new class is concerned) is that one example should be built, field tested and if found acceptible, build a further number of vessels. To build(or modify a design like the 110's) en mass and discover HQ has authorized a sea going Edsel is almost criminal. For example when the Japanese choose the path as a world class naval power, they put down the requirments for what they wanted as a powerful warship. As they were smart enough to realize they had no experience in building a battleship, they contracted the world experts, the British, to construct it, and, upon delivery, the Imperial naval staff evaluated it. When satisfied with what the Brits provided, the Japanese used it as a “working” example and as the saying goes the rest is history, they built the most powerful naval fleet in the Pacific. The CG should take note, they build so few ships over long time periods, generations of HQ naval architects equal hit and miss consistency. But back to the 270 question… I always felt the flight deck should have been extended as far back as the transom similar to many European ships. This would facilitate an overhead rail system for launching the RHI on the stern. The system with the articulated crane “spinning” the boat from stern to bow plus all the related hydralics was a Rube Goldberg system. Sure it worked but it was overkill. As much of the Coast Guards good work is SAR related it would have been wise to be able to work from the deck in all evolutions and to traverse the ship via the weatherdeck, similar to the 210's or 378's. Having to proceed fore or aft through the ships superstructure rather than walking on the weather deck was very different from other ships I served on. I note that US Navy ships have moved away from weather deck capabilities but a vessel tasked with SAR as a main mission an open deck has its advantages. Another shortcoming was the LARGE hanger the class carries. In two years aboard I only recall using (extending) the hanger once with a helo embarked, just to see if it could be done. And lets not forget the empty Aviation store spaces devoid of spare parts for the helos, what a waste! And the empty towed array sonar room, more waste! If the hanger wasn't part of the ships design, the pilot house could have been moved AMIDSHIPS where stability as well as visiblity would have been an asset(and look more like a ship). ASW helicopters were a big deal when the design specs were drawn up but the designers never took into consideration the required “adaptability” so inherent in the nature of the CG missions..which translates into “changing missions” equals ditch the hanger. Oh well, when we took delivery, the ship came equipped with 8-track tape players…Lastly, let me put in my 2 cents on habitability. As naval designs changed and most warships got bigger to accomodate new weapon systems the crews berthing seems to have remained the same in size as WWII vessels. I'm not sure why the 270's went against this trend(being smaller than a 327) as the electronics, radios, radar, sensors, helo deck, hanger all crammed in 270 feet. With this in mind why in the world would you have “lounges” on a ship when they couldn't accomodate the divisions assigned to them. Our so called forward lounge served supply, 1st class and engineering. The most bodies this “space” could seat is 8 people and there were about 40+ crewmen. It would have been more prudent to convert the “lounges” to crew berthing. This berthing would have provided 2 high racks for the majority of the crew with a minimum of 3 high racks (which were like sleeping in a coffin with one side missing). The social fabric of the sea going tradition dictates that the crew has social interaction on the mess deck, so lose the sardine can lounges. Plus having a 2 high racks affords a place to read in quiet or study an Institute course. Ever try to sit up in a 3 high? It may sound like a small thing but an old bosun told me that “your rack is your only bit of space underway on the ship”. “Lounges belong on cruise ships not CG cutters. In fairness, the sleeping arrangement for the CPO's and the “O”'s was inferior to the berths on the 210's, even the CO's cabin on a 270 was like a sleeper on Amtrak's Southwest Chief. When I think back to the spacious accomodations on the Duane or Bibb, it makes sense to make the crew's living spaces bearable, one spends considerable time using them underway. Looking back though, my time on the 270 was my favorite tour underway, we had a great CO and XO and nothing smells as good as a factory fresh ship. With the possible exception of a new car!

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