India’s Expanding CG, Soon Three Coast Guards with More Patrol Ships than the USCG

Since the terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008, the Indians have taken their Coast Guard very seriously, acting to increase its size by 200% and working to provide enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and improved coordination with other agencies.

The MDA system appears to exploit relatively simple and familiar technology, including using light houses as sites for radars and electro-optic devices. (Perhaps some day we will regret disposing of all those old light houses.)

The description is here.

It looks like the Indian Coast Guard may also be on track to create a fleet of large Offshore Patrol Vessels more numerous than that of the USCG, despite the fact that their EEZ is only one fifth the size of that of the US.

With the decline in the number of USCG ships from 39 to at most 33, and perhaps as few as 22, it appears that there may soon be at least three “coast guards” with more large patrol vessels than the USCG: Japan, China, and India (Russia and S. Korea are also not far behind). Certainly China and India have large populations, but the US has a far larger Exclusive Economic Zone than any of these countries.

Size of Exclusive Economic Zone

  • China           877,019 km2 (recognized)  (Claimed: approx. 3,877,019 km2)
  • India          2,305,143 km2
  • Japan        4,479,358 km2 (including some significant disputed areas and areas jointly administered with S. Korea)
  • USA         11,351,000 km2

Each of these organization is organized differently and has different missions, but in general the USCG has the broadest array of responsibilities.

In terms of personnel, the Japanese Coast Guard is less than a third the size of the USCG but they already have more large patrol vessels than the USCG (52), including some that are much larger than even the Bertholf Class. They do have fewer aircraft (73).

There is a Chinese Coast Guard, but it is only one of at least five agencies that do “coast guard” missions. Taken together their personnel far out number the USCG, and their number of ships is rapidly increasing (more here). If they don’t have 40 large patrol ships already they soon will.

India’s Coast Guard is also relatively young. It also seems to be the most closely aligned with its Navy counterparts, being part of the Defense Ministry. Their aviation branch is also smaller than the USCG’s but it is expanding. If their current plans reach fruition, they will have more large cutters than the USCG by 2027.

Do these nations recognize a reality we do not?

Related: “Indian CG Building Ships, Buying Helos, Domain Awareness,” “India on the Challenges of Guarding the Coast

8 thoughts on “India’s Expanding CG, Soon Three Coast Guards with More Patrol Ships than the USCG

  1. How embarrassing is that statistic?

    Yes we need more $$$ for the USCG. But the real problem was and is ICGS and the CGs inability and lack of political courage to hold them responsible for where they are now.

    The same contractors have the same contracts. Sure ICGS was cancelled but the $$$ was in the assets. Where is the 123 refund? Who was held accountable? Who is still doing the NSCs and FRCs? The CG could fill the $$$ gap if they exercised the “unconditional” program wide performance guaranty they had with ICGS to pay for most of the delay and problems.

    Did you know such a guaranty existed?

    • It is embarrassing that the USCG doesn’t have the money or political clout to get what it needs. While other countries Coast Guard and Navy are on a ship building shopping spree, we’re still left holding the bag with our old and antiquated gear. Which is why I think contractors who screwed up should be banned from getting federal contracts.

      I often wonder what is it going to take to get Congress and the voters to push for more ship building for the US Coast Guard.

    • Mike, Give it a rest. We all know the story and are well versed on your postion on this issue. The 123′ project was a failure, but even if it succeeded it was a short-term stop gap at best.

      • The 123 refund is actually a very small part. There was a unconditional performance guaranty in the contract. It was supposed to cover ICGS performance relative to meeting the mission performance specs the CG provided. As they were drastically missed ICGS should be on the hook for most of the gap.

        ICGS was to provide the CG specific mission capability though the addition or m modification of assets – all within a contracted period of time. The NSC design failure, the 123 fraud and the FRC composite hull debacle (fraud?) caused most of the program delays. As ICGS was the LSI in charge they are on the hook. Hence the rare use of a performance guaranty.

    • Chuck I don’t know if you have notice the sudden drop off of interest in your blog lately. But it sure seems like a lot of people who use to chime in, have sudden become quite. It’s bad enough that we have to put up with Nicky nonsensical comments. But now we have to put up with IMISPGH travelling Snake Oil & Elixir show. These two Idiots will take over your blog if you are not careful Chuck. Just a thought for now.

      • My comments are limited and on topic. I have no intention whatsoever of doing otherwise.
        Since you said “Snake Oil” I would like to ask what you meant specifically. We lost on appeal so none of this is about my case.(As a matter of fact I may now be facing paying over $100k in cost for the defendants) Do you not believe there should be a 123 refund? Or that there either was no program wide performance guaranty or that it should be used to pay for the current USCG performance gaps?

  2. Pingback: Japan saves 64 Chinese seamen from burning freighter

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