A Suggestion–How to meet the Medium Icebreaker Requirement

An active duty member who is a bit shy about taking credit for it, offers us a suggestion that I think may be worth considering. He even provided the illustration above:
“I think the Coast Guard is missing an opportunity to capitalize upon an already proven platform to help fill the Arctic need for a multi-mission platform.
“The proven platform of which I speak is the current CGC Mackinaw.  This multi-missioned platform is the perfect launching point to build six Alaska specific operating platforms.  I would propose that the Coast Guard commission a redesigned version of the Mackinaw, stretching the overall design (240 to 280+ feet in length) to incorporate a flight deck and a retractable or permanent hanger.  This vessel would have light to medium ice breaking capabilities, be a buoy tender, heavy weather capable, fisheries patrol, LE, SAR and VOSS/SORS deployment platforms. 
“The optimum idea would be to build the six ships and trade them out with five the current buoy tenders residing in the 17th District.  With six of these ships, they could rotate on Arctic deployments of two ships a year on a three year rotation.  This would allow for greater flexibility in meeting expanding Arctic mission demands, present a viable pollution response platform and maintain the current level of expected AOR operations.

“On a side note, to help inspire greater understanding and respect of and from local cultures, these could be classified as Alaska Class Cutters and names after Alaska tribes or locations (maybe glaciers?).
I’ll only note that the Coast Guard has already identified a need for at least six icebreakers including three medium icebreakers.

4 thoughts on “A Suggestion–How to meet the Medium Icebreaker Requirement

    • I don’t have much experience on the Polar class the only time I rode one was during training in San Diego, but I think we can compare it to the current and past ships that served in that area.

      It should be at least as seaworthy as the WLBs that are there now.

      It should also be at least as capable as the Storis, which was conceptually similar (a 180ft WLB with an extra 50 ft and a bit more horsepower). It would be more than twice the displacement of Storis, and she spent a long and successful career in that environment.

  1. Or, join the Canadian Arctic OPV project and build six of the design at, say, Vigor. And then build the larger run of simpler intermediate OPCs as suggested here.
    Or wait and see what prices the current contest yields…

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