Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian interviews General Dynamics NASSCO’s Tom Wetherald regarding its US Coast Guard icebreaker and US Navy ship programs with during the 29th Surface Navy Association Symposium in Arlington, Virginia.
Interestingly NASSCO, like Eastern, teamed with VARD to develop their icebreaker concept.
Notably I see not weapons or positions for weapons on the icebreaker concept.
It may be good news for us that more Expeditionary Sea Bases (formerly “Afloat Forward Staging Bases”). It is likely one will go to to SOUTHCOM and may be available to support counter drug operations.
All the COCOMs want afloat base ships. Who gets which is up to higher authority. Since the AFSB nee ESB are highly aviation centric, not so good for small boat support. Where are the birds going to come from? I don’t know if they will be a good fit for SOUTHCOM?
They are big, expensive, few but may work in a lower threat area like the Carib?
Without details it is hard to be sure, but the NASSCO-VARD concept image looks remarkably similar to upcoming CCGS Diefenbaker icebreaker also designed by VARD. It is not surprising to see the Canadian VARD design as a starting point for one of the yards. With the comment on cost I wonder if NASSCO and VARD have cost savings in mind relative to producing the USCG and CCG vessels in parallel with Seaspan.
Interesting bit of news regarding the USCG polar icebreaker acquisition:
“WASHINGTON — The U.S. and Canadian governments on Feb. 7 established a partnership that will enable the U.S. Coast Guard heavy polar icebreaker acquisition program to test and validate potential heavy polar icebreaker design models at Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) in St John’s, Newfoundland, the Coast Guard said in a Feb. 9 release.”
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