Coast Guard Contract for sUAS for Bertholf Class Cutters

Insitu ScanEagle small Unmanned Air System (sUAS)

The Acquisitions Directorate (CG-9) has announced a contract award to Insitu, to provide a capability to operate a small unmanned air system from the Bertholf class National Security Cutters.

“…The service contract covers installation and deployment of sUAS for approximately 200 hours per 30-day operational patrol period.

“Installations of sUAS capability on NSCs are planned at a rate of about two per year. Total value of the contract including the seven option years is approximately $117 million.”

It does not say which airframe Insitu will be providing. They have more than one, but it is likely to be Scan Eagle which was the small UAS used by Stratton during the trials.

200 hours per 30 day operational patrol period might be 20 sorties of 10 hours each or 25 sorties of 8 hours, but in all probability it will include a few shorter flights to provide documentation and over-watch during boardings. 

The Coast Guard is contracting out the operation and maintenance of the systems rather than training Coastguardsmen to perform these functions. Hopefully, in time that will change.

Also there is no reason these systems should not also operate off of smaller cutters and icebreakers. Operating from 210s should be relatively easy, although it might preclude operating a helicopter, and with a little engineering they could probably operate from Webber class WPCs.

If you want to trace some of the progress on this issue, here are some earlier posts.

One thought on “Coast Guard Contract for sUAS for Bertholf Class Cutters

  1. This post confirms the sUAS will be Scan Eagle and there is an interesting closing sentence that suggests UAS will not be limited to the Bertholf class NSCs.

    “This contract is only the beginning for unmanned systems within the Coast Guard,” Jeff Bishop, program manager with the Office of Aviation Acquisition, said. “And to be at the very beginning of this paradigm shift is an amazing experience.”

    We do of course expect a land based UAS so we can’t read too much into the statement.

    https://www.defensenews.com/unmanned/2018/06/08/with-11-tons-of-seized-drugs-us-coast-guard-asks-for-more-scaneagle-drones/

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