Photo: USS Kauffman (FFG-59) Defense Visual Information Gallery photo ID DN-SC-90-04968
The Navy Times is reporting that USS Kauffmann (FFG-59) is departing for what is expected to be the last deployment for a US Navy Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate, and it will be a “Counter Transnational Organized Crime/Counter Illicit Trafficking mission” meaning it will almost certainly have a Coast Guard team aboard.
The 51 ships of this class have frequently supported USCG Coast Guard Law Detachments and operated under Coast Guard authority. Ultimately Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) and Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV) will replace them in these missions, but right now, the decommissionings seem to be coming much faster than the replacements. Meanwhile far fewer assets are available than required to move on actionable intelligence despite of the fact that this is the most efficient method of interdicting drug traffic.
I think that our National Fleet could surely use a dual serviced ship in it. By that I mean a common hull and similar propulsion plant but different topside features. Ship would be larger than a cutter (like FRC is now) with a flight deck and mount positions for heavier weapons; but less than an OPC for use here and there. The USCG could have their expeditonary cutters, and the USN could get more hulls for littoral and station ship missions.
And I think at some point in time the USN/USCG needs to break out of this “deploy/RTB” operational model and come up with a real station ship~ My preference would be an largish OPV that would be force enabler and provide logistics support as well. Endurance and size to stay gone. Maybe 1000 to 2000 tons or so?
By way of reference, both the T-AGOS and T-AGS were designed to be deployed for 45 and 26 days respectively.
Another report on the mission and the passing of the Perry class. Interestingly the report indicates they Navy will change the naming convention for the new FFs (LCS 2.0). http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/21/us/us-navy-frigates/index.html
Report on the end of the last deployment by a US Navy Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate. http://www.navytimes.com/story/military/2015/07/08/kauffman-frigate-oscar-austin-ship-retire-home-norfolk/29877487/
Of course it was an Eastern Pacific drug patrol with a CG LEDET embarked.
While they continue to serve in other navies, the last Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG-7) class USN frigate has been decommissioned. http://www.navy.mil/ah_online/ftrStory.asp?issue=3&id=91288
SecNav suggest they may bring back seven Perry class frigates specifically to do drug interdiction.
It may not cost much to recommission them, but their fuel consumption and crew size are substantially greater than that for CG cutters. https://news.usni.org/2017/09/20/secnav-spencer-oliver-hazard-perry-frigates-low-cost-drug-interdiction-platforms
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