Draft Technical Package for the Offshore Patrol Cutter Released

The Acquisitions Directorate (CG-9) has issued the draft technical package for the Offshore Patrol Cutter. It was announced on the Federal Business Opportunity website, March 12, 2012.

“The red-lined draft System Specification contains all of the changes that the Coast Guard incorporated as a result of industry comment. This document will be automatically distributed to those companies and individuals that received the draft OPC specification released in May 2011. The other draft documents will be available on the USCG OPC website at: http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/OPC/default.asp

A two step Acquisition process is expected. First, three contractors will be selected to develop their preliminary designs into fully detailed contract proposals. They will compete for the final award which will include the first OPC and all documentation. It may (and probably will) also include options for follow-on ships. So far, the Coast Guard is saying they will maintain their flexibility regarding who will build follow-on ships.

On the Acquisitions directorate website, you can down load hundreds of pages of technical requirements for the contractors, but don’t expect to find updated information on the specification of the ships. As noted above, revised draft specifications were sent to companies and individuals that received the draft OPC System Specification released in May 2011. Hopefully the Acquisition Directorate will release at least some basic information in the near future.

Still going through the documents yields some useful information of more general interest. The list of Government furnished Equipment (GFE) and Government Furnished information (GFI) tells us about much of the equipment the vessels are expected to carry. (I will not list all the normal items included on every cutter.)


  • Mk 48 mod 1 Gun weapon system
  • Mk 110, 57mm gun system
  • Electro Optical Site Sensor (EOSS), MK 20 MOD 0
  • 25mm, MK 38 MOD 2
  • Two SSAM gun systems, (remotely operated .50 Caliber)


  • IFF, AN/UPX-29A
  • AN/SLQ-32B(V)2 (and Mk 53 NULKA decoy system)
  • Multi-Mode Radar (air as well as surface? AN/SPQ-9?)
  • Encrypted GPS
  • CBRN monitoring

Boats: 2 x 7m OTH IV (apparently no 11m boat)


  • Visual Landing Aids (VLA)
  • Glide Slope Indicator (GLI)
  • Wave Off Light Assembly (WOLS)

The Mk48 Mod 0 (www.dtic.mil/ndia/2011gunmissile/Thursday11660_Aswegan.pdf) is apparently the system on the National Security Cutter. Perhaps, the Mk48 mod 1 is simply an improvement, but unlike some of the other components of the system, the AN/SPQ-9 radar is not called out specifically, so this system may not have a radar. It may be that the “multi-mode radar” refers to the AN/SPQ-9. Hopefully that is the case.

A quick scan through the other documents shows that the Coast Guard has not ruled out the possibility of hybrid or integrated diesel-electric propulsion.

“One Line Diagram. During Contract Design the Contractor shall provide the Electric-Drive Propulsion System One Line Diagram (if an Electric Propulsion System or IDE is provided). [235-01-2219]”

Other included systems are:

  • Two encrypted computer networks including one for classified material.
  • Television systems for both monitoring security and entertainment and training.
  • UHF MIL SAT COM Equipment
  • A crane for loading stores
  • A bow thruster
  • An unmanned air system (UAS)

It appears there may also be a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility).

Generally it appears, a much more sophisticated ship that the WMECs they are replacing.

(illustration: French shipbuilder DCNS concept)

28 thoughts on “Draft Technical Package for the Offshore Patrol Cutter Released

  1. Thanks for the updates chuck, this seems like its generally good news. Things are gradually
    moving in the right direction, though it would have been nice to see this coming out earlier.
    Do you have anything further on the unmanned air system…seems pretty interesting.

      • So what European designs are you betting that the US Coast Guard may look at. I think the US Coast Guard should look at the current Corvette fleets of the world and see what works for them and what doesn’t work for them. I would bet that the Sigma class corvette, Spain’s Buque de Acción Marítima or even turkey’s Milgem class corvette would be something the US Coast Guard can look at for design ideas.

      • Or maybe the Coast Guard can come up with a design on their own?? Give it a rest already.

      • When was the last time the US Coast Guard ever designed, tested and built it’s own boat

      • The Coast Guard did the preliminary designs for the 210s, 270s, 378s, and Polar Class Icebreakers. Not sure about the Healy. Coast Guard Yard actually built some of the 210s.

      • So do you think the US Coast Guard will build it’s own OPC or will the wind up going to Bollinger shipyards who will wind up going to Damen Shipyards Group to get OPC designs that Damen makes for European Navies.

      • They will put it out for bid. Whatever comes out will not be a carbon copy of any previous ship, because nothing out there fits the specs. But ship designs are evolutionary, so it will probably be similar to something already built somewhere.

      • Every ship in the fleet even if derived from another design was adapted and tested to Coast Guard requirements. I’d like to think that the 327, 270, 210, and 378 classes have proven their worth and then some. Last time I checked the NSC is only in service with the U.S. Coast Guard and is proving to be a sound design. What is your experience in ship design and procurement?? Have you served on a ship at sea, do you have any military experience?? As far as I can tell you are a un-employed non operational Auxiliarist with no earned qualifications or training on record. In fact you show not one single mission activity hour recorded since you joined the Auxiliary. You may not even attend your once a month Flotilla meetings. Surfing the internet 16 hours a day looking at pictures doesn’t qualify you as a ship design expert. The reason that the Coast Guard doesn’t adopt any of the endless ships you propose with every one of your posts is because they are not suited to Coast Guard operations.

      • I see your jealous that I can go to College and you can’t. Oh, nice of you to mock the Auxiliary because most of them are retires who can devout their time to the US Coast Guard. As far as I can tell, You must be one of those who spend way too much time on your crackberry or IPHONE instead of doing your JOB and putting food on the table. Oh and I do go to my Flotilla meetings and I do contribute to my flotilla as a member.

        As far as for ship design, since the US lost all their Naval ship designers and Naval architectures to Europe and Asian. I highly Doubt the US can come up with a great naval ship design. Just look at Europe and Asia, they have woo all our college kids who majored in Naval Architecture and Naval design to Europe and now design ships for companies such as Navantia, DCNS and Damen. As a result, look at the ships that European Navies have that we are so jealous of. It’s because the US dose not keep talented Naval Architecture and Naval design majors from leaving the US for Europe or Asia. That’s why I think the US Coast Guard may wind up talking to Navantia, DCNS and Damen for Ship designs and Bollinger shipyards to build the next OPC based on what they got from Navantia, DCNS and Damen.

      • Time to cool it and everyone take a deep breath and go back to talking about facts and not personalities.

        No personal attacks please.

      • I doubt if Gibbs and Cox would agree that there are no Naval Architects left in America. The US still designs the most complex warships in the world, aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, guided missile destroyers.

        Ship building is an international business now, but ships are not bought off the rack, they are tailored.

      • That’s true, but how come the US Coast Guard doesn’t make naval ship design a top priority and try to attract college students into Naval Architecture or Naval Design. I

      • Ship building in the US is in trouble, but it is not a problem of design, it is a problem of not being competitive in the world market. It isn’t rocket science and it is labor intensive, so ship building goes to where labor is cheap. Very few ships are built in the US. The large yards are totally dependent on orders from the Navy and to a far lesser extent the Coast Guard.

        Neither the Coast Guard or the Navy requires a lot of ship designs.

        Shipbuilding in places like Denmark and the Netherlands is being farmed out. Major parts of the ships are built in Eastern Europe and floated back for final assembly and outfitting.

      • Guess what, I’m in the Coast Guard and a member of the Auxiliary as well. In fact I rarely have time to post here because of my duties and family responsibilities. I’m the last person that would ever mock the Auxiliary, and when I retire I will certainly give more time to the AUX. Your AUX records contradict your claim. You have no training or quals since joining the Auxiliary, and have not logged a single hour of activity since you joined several years ago. I have no problem with your postings as long as it doesn’t distract from the intelligent discussions here. You just show up to rattle off your personal wish list of foriegn warships and to be critical of U.S. ship building and designs in general and yet you have no knowledge or experience on the subject being discussed. This was my last post on the subject. Have a great Coast Guard day.

      • wow your a very nasty person to people who disagree with you.

      • Maybe more constructive conversation would be to give details why you think they are better then America designs. Its easy to say a line like my car is better then your car. But it is another thing to say my car is better because of the following technical reasons. This could help escape from a bias or prove you know your stuff. I am interested in anything that fits best for the Coast Guard. I served on a few ships I am not expert but I am smart enough to realize updating the fleet is important and the right ship will make all the different.

  2. Chuck, thank you for staying point on the development of the OPC. You do the heavy lifting by digging through the internet to find this information. Not to get too much in the mix, but I think the USCG has brought some good designs with the 210s, 327s, and 378s being some of the best. The opposite side of those good previously mentioned, being the intermediate 110s, 270s, and the disasterous123s. I don’t think just buying an off the shelf, good looking corvette is our best option, but something needs to happen as our 210s, and 270s are showing ever increased wear and tear. So I guess I have said all that to say there seems to be no one easy and simple answer, thus why it is left to the ones with the little stars on their shoulders.

    Just so I don’t get killed, haha, I am no expert, but hold a little understanding of ships, and what makes a good one, as I was a civilian sailor prior to going active in the USCG, earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and have underway time in the USCG on 270s, 110s, and 87s.

  3. Pingback: Offshore Patrol Cutter–Draft Specifications, Update - CGBlog.org

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