Webber Class WPC Endurance?

USCGC Kathleen Moore (WPC-1109)

USCGC Kathleen Moore (WPC-1109)

A question, what is the real endurance of the Webber Class WPCs? The figure I see quoted is five days. This was the contract minimum. This is the same as listed for the 87 foot WPBs. Is this correct? This becomes important when the vessel has to make a long transit to and from its patrol area, and if we are understating the endurance, we are selling the class short.

The Webber class vessels are 353 tons full load. Similar sized ships seem to have greater endurance. The Navy’s 387 ton full load Cyclone class PCs have a nominal ten day endurance. The 300 ton Australian Armidale class patrol vessels claim a normal endurance of 21 days and 42 days maximum.

The Webber class’s endurance is not constrained to five days by fuel. The 87 ft WPBs have a nominal endurance of five days but a range of only 900 miles. The Webber class have a range of 2950 nautical miles. Obviously you don’t want to run the ship down to zero fuel, but at ten knots, it would take 295 hours or over 12 days to go 2950 miles. Even at 14 knots, it would take almost nine days to go 2950 miles. Additionally, it is the nature of Coast Guard missions that cutters frequently loiter as low speed which potentially adds patrol time.

A recent news release caught my eye. It reported the results of a 19 day patrol by USCGC Kathleen Moore (WPC-1109). She almost certainly refueled at least once, but did she replenish three times?

We have had these little ships long enough that we should have a revised opinion of their endurance based on experience. Any feedback?


14 thoughts on “Webber Class WPC Endurance?

  1. 82-foorters in Vietnam normally ran 4-day patrols. However, 5 to 7 days were not uncommon. There could be longer periods but resupply of fuel and water would be necessary. As for food, places could be found for that. We kept some can goods in the bilges under the crew quarters forward.

    • During World War II when our submarines would go out for two months at a time, they would sail with canned goods in the passageways and the crews would walk on them for part of the voyage. (Not suggesting that. It could be dangerous for a ship that can’t submerge to avoid heavy weather.)

  2. FRC’s are limited by their very small dry-stores and refrigerator units, and the crew’s laundry. They have only one, (inadequate), single non-vented washing machine/dryer that takes 2+ hrs per load. 5 days is what should be planned… knowing extensions will happen. 7 is do-able. 10 is too much given current storage conditions.

      • Added (small point). I suspect requirements were developed from the operational requirements – which were likely intentionally designed to be limited (thus truly keeping the cutter a patrol boat). This begs the question of how operational requirements link to design requirements… And if/how there should be incentive for exceeding those min operatiomal requirements. There likely is such a mechanism for major factors (speed, etc). But “minor” factors like food storage can have major impacts as we see here – esp if these cutters deploy to the deep Carib.

      • @Gregory, The name “Fast Response Cutter” always looked like a misnomer to me. Especially when you put six in one port three times . That means you intend them to patrol, not wait in port for an emergency call.

  3. this seems like poor planning, a patrol vessel, 3/4s again the size of an 87′ with same duration? have not been on one, would love to, but seems there must be accessible dead space somewhere, or maybe a space to weld a dedicated locker for dry stores. remember on 82 we had a large chest freezer mounted in bosun hole forward of the lazz. then again not familiar with intimate details of 154′

    • You are thinking in terms of length. 87 footers are 91 tons full load while the Webber class are 353 tons full load, almost four times as large. True the crew is a bit more than twice as large.

  4. Pingback: More on the Webber Class WMECs | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

  5. Pingback: USCGC Robert Ward (WPC-1130) Makes First Eastern Pacific Transit Zone Drug Bust by an FRC | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

  6. Pingback: USCGC Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) arrives in American Samoa on patrol | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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