New Renderings of Proposed OPC

OPC Conceptual Rendering (Unfortunately the rendering that originally appeared here is no longer available. This is a later version which appears similar.)

Conceptual Rendering of the OPC

The Acquisition Directorate has given us some more information on the proposed Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), including some new renderings of its appearance and information on how it will use “green” technologies and concepts to reduce environmental impact.

I like the fact that the 57mm is up one deck from the foc’sle, because that will provide some protection from green water coming over the bow and, it will allow the weapon to train on targets at relatively close range over the bow. In fact the design looks very much like the successful Floréal class of light “surveillance frigates” designed for the French Navy in 1989.

Looks like they are planning on mounting a 25 mm Mk 38 mod 2 on top of the hanger instead of a CIWS. For our purposes, that is probably a better choice, provided we have the option of substituting a state of the art CIWS like SeaRAM should we go to war. I’d really like to know what they are anticipating for a fire control system. Radar and electro-optical or electro-optical only?

What surprises me is that there is no stern ramp, in spite of the fact that it looks like there is adequate room. I never liked the arrangement we have for launching the boat at the fantail of the 270s, because of what happens when the ship is pitching, and this does not look like an improvement. However, the fact that she has boats on both sides amidships is an improvement.

I would still like to see some space planned for interchangeable containerized mission modules. Maybe there could be an option to put these on the fantail in lieu of the third boat. Aside from the Littoral Combat Ship modules, these might include class rooms for cadet cruises, holding cells for migrant interdiction, operating rooms for disaster relief, or laboratories for scientific research.

Hopefully the larger flight deck means the ships will be capable of operating all the H-60 variants including the Navy’s MH-60 R and S versions and there will be space available to store their equipment and weapons.

Provided the price is reasonable, these ships should have definite Foreign Military Sales potential. I can see variations of this design with Harpoon launchers either on the fantail or foc’sle.

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19 thoughts on “New Renderings of Proposed OPC

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  2. It dose almost look like the French Navy’s Floréal class frigate and my only concern is the Free board being so low and how this cutter would do in the North Atlantic environment. I think they should add a stern launch ramp and make the ship into a STANFLEX.

    • Don’t think we need to worry about freeboard, although the foc’sle might not be a good place to stand in bad weather. The rest of the ship appears at least as high as existing MECs.

      • Well this OPC dose resemble the Floréal class frigate that the French Navy is using and the Braunschweig class corvette of the German Navy.

  3. If that deck supporting the 57 mm gun was to be pushed forward a bit then perhaps an eight-cell Mk 41 VLS could be placed between the gun and bridge superstructure. The Australians and Turks have been installing such when refurbishing their old Perry class FFGs, arming them with 32 ESSM (which are quad-packed in the eight cells). In the Oz FFGs (Adelaide class) the VLS projects above the deck (as a box or deckhouse), thus taking up less internal volume in the foc’sle of the frigates. Of course, another deck could be added behind the gun to enclose the upper portion of such a small VLS installation in these cutters.

    • Would be nice if they at least planned for such an installation, even were not actually completed. Even so, an anti-air capability would depend on having an illuminator. It could still be useful for anti-ship, land attack, and ASROC even without that. (Incidentally I would not expect any hull mounted sonar.)

      The CG wouldn’t do it in peacetime, but alternately a larger group of Mk41 VLS could replace the gun entirely. ESSM does have a line of sight surface to surface capability.

    • The way it was installed on the NSC, the stern ramp required two steering gear rooms, port and starboard on either side of the ramp. It is a complication, but also a nice redundancy in case of fire or damage.

      Of course none of our existing MECs have more than two boats.

      I’ve always been a little concerned about the boat reentering the ramp when the ship is pitching, but I haven’t seen it in operation. ie Is it possible the stern will pitch up out of the water and slam down on the boat?

  4. Having retired from many years here in Pascagoula, I can see a problem with this rough cartoon drawing of the WMSM’s: too many antenna’s topside, which indicates too much electronics, radio’s, satellite comm’s, maybe even another SCIF space like the WMSL’s are getting.

    Guess what happens when you install too much complicated, expensive systems onboard a relatively small warship ? Cost goes up dramatically. Cost to design, cost to build, cost to test, cost to train, cost to maintain, cost to repair. How on Earth will the US Coast Guard ever buy 25 or more of these desparately needed cutters ? Gee whiz, make the same mistake as WMSL again ? Too complicated and too daggoned expensive to build, maintain, operate, so the Coasties don’t acquire even 8 WMSL’s to somehow replace 12 high endurance cutters. ACQUISTION types are making another stupid mistake and only a few years after gold-plating the NSC’s. Shame shame shame…. Stupid , Stupid, Stupid.

  5. I don’t think there are any plans to put a SCIF in this class.

    Wish the drawings had came out a little clearer, but doesn’t look much more complex than a 270.

    Frankly, I was surprised to see a new conceptual drawing before the builder has been picked.

    And if they have a preliminary design already, why didn’t they include more specifics like dimensions?

  6. The bow, like that on the 270, still looks a bit too short. It might help if they reshaped the bulkhead forward of the gun to make it effectively a second bow to break whatever green water comes over the bow.

  7. The bow actually looks well thought out. Unlike the 57mm gunmount on the LCS, which must first lower all the lifelines prior to shooting, this new design for WMSM / OPC appears to have no minimum range blockages. On the NSC cutters, their 57mm gunmount is raised up just enough from the main deck that they can open fire at both minimum range of the main gun, as well as out to max range. LCS-1 cannot do this “trick” without first sending someone up on the bow to first lower all the lifelines.

    So, the OPC / WMSM bow design actually looks very good to a gunner’s mate.

    • Agree, I like that part of the design. Generally I’m pleased. It is just some features that are not obvious in the design that I question as noted above.

      • Specifically, relative to the bulkhead just forward of the gun, give it a little curvature and a flare at the top to direct water away from the gun and the O-1 deck.

        I know curves cost a few more bucks up front, but it will be worth it in the long run. At least give it three faces to parallel the three faces of the bridge structure.

  8. If you are interested in more photos of the Floreal class (since it looks like a template for this conceptual design) you can go to this page on Wikipedia and click on the various ships of the class. They give a brief history and include one or more pictures. Generally if you double click on a picture you can get a larger version of the image.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Flor%C3%A9al_class_frigates

    Note, the Floreal has facilities for three boats, two on the davits where you would expect to find them and a third below the flight deck on the starboard side.

    Looks like the two 20 mm are on top of the hanger. Putting one gun on the edge of either rear corner of the hanger instead of only one in the center allows the guns to engage targets at closer range alongside and allows a better field of fire forward of the beam, so that they cover almost 360 degrees.

    The two Exocets are one deck up from the boats.

    The Floreal has a speed of only 20 knots. I hope the OPC will do at least 25.

    The photos illustrate how the bulkhead in front of the gun should be shaped.

  9. The OPC drawings show p&s boat davits of the luffing type which work better than USN slewing arm ones. I can’t see how they can launch the boat on the stern unless there is a knuckle crane stowed away back there?

  10. leesea,

    I too was wondering about that stern boat.

    In wartime I would like to see that RHIB landed and some modifications made:

    1st – place four to eight AShM launch canisters in place of the boat (Harpoons or a follow-up);

    2nd – remove the 25 mm Mk 38 Mod 2 RWS gun mount from atop the hanger and replace it with a RAM or SeaRAM SAM missile launcher;

    3rd – right at the stern install port and starboard sponsons to support two Mk 38 Mod 2 RWS gun mounts, which can then cover about 350+ degrees of approach to the wartime cutter (warship).

    Oh, that goes along with my suggestion (above) to install an eight cell Mk 41 VLS for 32 ESSM between the forward gun and the bridge superstructure.

    Then, too – toss the 57 mm pop-gun and install the Oto Melara Strales 76 mm cannon with on-mount RADAR and guided munitions (there ain’t nothin’ like havin’ multiple, different weapons systems capable of engagin’ approachin’ AShMs).

    Just my thoughts for converting a cutter into a wartime frigate.

  11. Pingback: USCG Offshore Patrol Cutter – A Green Offshore Weapon Platform — gCaptain- A Maritime & Offshore News Blog

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