Offshore Patrol Cutter–Draft Specifications, Update

OPC Conceptual RenderingWhen the draft technical package for the Offshore Patrol Cutter was released, I provided what information I could glean from the attachments, but the basic specs were not available. Fortunately CG-9 were kind enough to agree to answer my questions about the basic requirements for the design. I would like to thank Ms. Maureen Schumann and Mr. Brian R. Olexy for their assistance.

The following are my questions and Mr. Olexy’s response:

Q1) What are the threshold and desired capabilities for maximum speed? Range? at what speed? Personnel accommodations? Anticipated crew size?

A1) The objective top speed is 25 knots (22 knots minimum acceptable top speed).  The objective range of the OPC is 9500 nm (8500 nm minimum acceptable range) at 14 knots sustained speed.

The objective underway crew size is 90, with a threshold of 104.  The objective for total number of accommodations is 126 (accommodations for 120 total personnel is the minimum acceptable capability).

Q2) Still a requirement for two enginerooms? with power equally split? Any specific requirements for the power plant other than diesels?

A2) The OPC Specification requires the propulsion plant to be arranged in at least two separate main machinery spaces so that a level of propulsion capability is retained in the event of a complete loss of one main machinery space. (Note this is a change, providing more flexibility in the design–Chuck)

Q3) Is there space and weight set aside for additional weapons in war time?

A3) The OPC will be capable of accommodating equipment and configurations needed for operations in higher threat environments.

Q4) Are there provisions for loading mission modules or containers for specific missions?

A4) The OPC will not use mission modules and is not required to carry ISO containers.

Q5) What size helicopter will be able to land on deck? What size helicopter can be hangered? UAV(s)?

A5) The OPC will be able to land H-1, H-3, H-6, H-60 and H-65 helicopter variants.  The objective requirement for hangaring capability is USCG H-65 and USCG/USN H-60 variants (minimum acceptable hangaring capability: USCG H-65).

Space, weight and power allocations for future UAS operations are also included in the requirements.

Q6) Provision for only two boats? Both 7meter? No 11 meter? Capacity for 11 meter later?

A6) The OPC boat provision threshold is to deploy with and support two boats capable of over-the-horizon operations; the objective is to deploy with two OTH boats and one additional boat, for a total of three.  The specification defines “over-the-horizon” as “any of a family of nominal 7+ meter aluminum hulled boats…”

Q7) Underway replenishment capability for both full and stores?

A7) The OPC will be capable of receiving fuel (DFM and JP-5) and water from a replenishment ship and solid cargo via VERTREP.

Q8) Still have the requirement for taking on 500 migrants and keeping them on deck?

A8) Yes. The specific requirement is the capability to embark, process and sustain up to 500 migrants for up to 48 hours.

Q9) Still a 10,000 ton towing capacity?

A9) Yes. The OPC shall have the capacity to tow astern up to OPC-equivalent displacement through SS5 and to up to 10,000 long tons through SS2.

Q10) Does the design specification still preclude a stern ramp?

A10) Yes, Ships Work Breakdown Structure (SWBS) section 070 of the spec precludes a stern ramp.

Q11) Does the fact that the NSC program has been cut from eight to six mean the OPC program will go from 25 to 27?

A11) The program of record for the NSC prescribes eight cutters.  The program of record for the OPC prescribes 25 cutters.

Q12) Is the multi-mode radar referred to, the radar component of the gun firecontrol system? An AN/SPQ-9? Or is the fire control system electro-optic only?

A12) Yes, the multi-mode radar is envisioned to be part of the gun fire control system, but it has not been defined yet.


The earlier post has information on the selection process and the projected government furnished equipment.

11 thoughts on “Offshore Patrol Cutter–Draft Specifications, Update

    • Nicky, as we have noted before, no existing design meets all the OPC requirement. The ship will be built in a US shipyard. Even so, these yards frequently have relationships with international shipbuilders, so it would not be surprising to see designs submitted that were related to some existing foreign OPV, corvette, or frigate designs.

  1. BE CAREFUL here Chuck you asked for THRESHOLD and they gave you OBJECTIVE.

    Threshold is the minimal acceptable level requred for an bid to be accepted. Objective is the maximum level the Govt requires and there is supposedly some weighting formula to give bidders credit for any capability or capacity abouve Threshold. Is 14 kts the speed threshold? So all the helos listed do NOT have to be hangared~

    It certainly is peculiar the OPC has NO rqmt for mission modules or ISO containers? I mean what if the USN wants to pay for/install LCS modules onboard the OPC? no space or weight for? dahh?

    I find it unrealistic NOT to include L&R systems for boats larger than 7 meters. Does the USCG expect to use that size boat THROUGHOUT the life cycle of the OPC? Will the stern ramp ONLY be large enough for a 7 meter boat? That is a serious structural limitation IMHO.

    • First there will be no stern ramp. It is precluded in the specs. Threshold and objective is the way the specs are written, but at this point there is no weighting to reward reaching the objective rather than just the threshold so unless that is established I think we will end up with threshold only.

      I also find the lack of provision for modules/containers difficult to understand. It seems a perfect solution to a way to give the CG viable wartime roles without the burden of manning/training/maintenance in peacetime.

  2. Boat L&R also addresses davits, cranes or other lifting systems not just a stern ramp. Ask your POC what SWBS applies to those systems? What does “7+” mean? OTH is a description NOT a size. Ask what performance spec might apply?

  3. Chuck programs change. In acquistion schoold they teach that size MUST be definitized or a range given.
    Seven Plus is meaningless to engineers trying to calculate a load.

    • Frankly this program has been agonizingly slow. We have been talking about these ships for over a decade and we won’t see the first one for almost seven years. These specs are still “draft.” So hopefully, it will all become clear.

  4. What is an H-1, H-3 or H-6 helicopter?

    I somehow doubt that they’re talking about landing Hueys, Pelicans, and Little Birds on a regular basis…

    • Those helicopters are still out there, Marines are getting extensively refurbished H-1s, allies still use H-3s, and special forces still use H-6. These helicopters set the standards, but I can’t help think they may have been mentioned because the original spec was written along time ago.

      As for hangaring, there are potentially three levels. H-65, Navy H-60s (with folding tail), and CG H-60s (that do not have folding tails).

  5. Pingback: Offshore Patrol Cutter Update, June 2012 -

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