Shortly after the “State of the Coast Guard” address, the Commandant contacted us and offered to take some questions. Ryan Erickson, Bill Wells, and I took advantage of this generous offer and generated several–probably more than we should have. We may have overloaded the system, but the Commandant is being a good sport and says he will answer them all. Rather than try to answer them all at once, which would make for a very long post, they will come out individually or in small groups. This is the first:
Is there a plan for replacement or life extension for the old small
ships, including the WLR, WLI, WLIC, WTGB, WYTL?
The President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 budget request includes funds for the completion
of engineering change work, materials purchasing and production for the first 140-foot
WTGB Ice Breaking Tug Service Life Extension Project (SLEP). The goal is to add 15
years to the service life of the 140s. We are not looking at a replacement project for the
140 fleet at this time.
In FY 2009, we were appropriated $5 million to begin the Inland River Tender
Recapitalization Project (formerly the Heartland Waterway Vessel Project), which is
planned to cover the WLR, WLIC & WLI classes. Since that time, we have completed
the necessary mission analysis reports and drafted the mission needs statements. The
U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Marine Design Center in
Philadelphia are collaborating on various Inland Fleet studies including some notional
There are currently no plans to replace the 65-foot WYTL Harbor Tugs.