The 87 Foot WPB Replacement –Response Boat, Large –Interceptor

USCGC Barracuda (WPB-87301) USCG photo

The oldest of the 87 foot Marine Protector Class WPBs is now 21 years old. It is not too early to start thinking about what will replace them. Of the 73 “Marine Protector” class patrol boats, Four were commissioned in 2008 and four in 2009, but the rest were commissioned 1998-2005. That means we really should see the first of the new class by 2023 (that is not going to happen) and certainly not latter than 2028.

We should expect these replacements to be larger, faster, and much better armed, but still about half the size of the Webber class.

Environment:

Much has changed since the Marine Protector class was conceived. Our world in the last years of the 20th century, was really a very peaceful place. It was after the collapse of the Soviet Union, before the terrorist attack of 9/11/2001, and before the reemergence of Great Power competition. The Department of Homeland Security did not exist. The Russians seemed more friendly and their fleet appeared to be rotting away. The Chinese were trading partners and they were still militarily backward. It was a unipolar world. It now looks a lot less friendly.

Concept of Operations:

Currently the Marine Protector class vessels are spread along the East, Gulf, and West Coast with none in the Ninth or 17th Districts and only one in the 14th District. In most places there is only one boat of the type, meaning at some times there is no ready WPB in that port, and it is impossible to maintain an immediate response capability. 

Looking at the vessels that bracket the patrol boats in size, we have the Webber class WPCs and the Response Boat, Medium.

As noted, the “Fast Response Cutters,” unlike the 110s they nominally replace, are being used more like Medium Endurance Cutters at least in the Seventh, Eleventh, and Fourteenth Districts. Rather than sitting in port waiting for a call, they are out patrolling and are, in many cases, far from their homeports. It is not clear to me how much, if any, standby the Webber class are being assigned, but despite their larger number, it seems they will be assigned to fewer ports than the 110s they replace and so, to some extent at least, the WPB replacement may have to provide SAR coverage where the FRCs do not. In any case having a WPB replacement that approaches the capability of an FRC on standby, could relieve the FRCs of any need for short response time standby, allowing them more time to patrol.

At the small end, we have Response Boat, Medium. These boats appear both faster and more seaworthy than the 41 footers that were in place when the Marine Protector class were conceived. This should allow them to take on some of the less demanding duties the 87 footers were expected to handle when they were conceived.

This suggest that the replacement will likely push the capability envelop outward.

Size:

Every time we have a replaced a class, from WHECs, to WMECs, to the 110s, to the WLBs, the ships have gotten bigger. NSCs are  50% larger than the 378s. The OPCs are almost four times larger than the 210s, and twice the size of the 270s. The FRCs are more than twice as large as the 110s. The current 225′ WLB is twice as large as the 180s they replace, so it would not be surprising if the Marine Protector class replacement were twice as large, it might even be expected. Being one and half to twice as large would equate to 136 to 182 tons full load, or roughly 100′ (30.5 meter) to 130′ (39.6 meter) in length, not too much different from the Island class cutter, 110 feet (33.5 meter) loa and 168 tons. That is still only about half the size of the 353 ton Webber class.

Lurrsen FPB38. Something like this 122 foot meter (37.2 meter) 205 ton German built Bahrain Navy Patrol Boat is likely the upper limit in size.

Speed:

Assuming these are “Response” vessels, rather than patrol vessels, dash speed will be important. Speeds close to 40 knots are attainable and not unreasonable. It could probably be achieved in these smaller vessels using the same 20 cylinder engines used in the Webber class, perhaps even with the 16 cylinder version of these engines (about 9,600 HP total). The ship should also be able to maneuver smoothly at slow speeds. Slow speed maneuvering has presented some challenges on both the 110s and the FRCs. A hybrid powerplant could facilitate that and allow long slow cruises as well. Another way to do this might be using two significantly smaller diesels for cruise augmented a small gas turbine using a centerline waterjet for sprint speeds, for instance a pair of 3000 HP diesels and the GE LM500 (6,130HP).

The Crew

While our vessels have increased in size substantially, the crew size has increased no more than about 50% if at all. NSCs actually have smaller crews than the WHECs they replace. The OPCs’ crew size will probably be similar to that of the 270s and less than 50% larger than that of the 210s. The FRCs’ crews are about 50% larger than those of the 110s. The crews of the 225 foot WLBs are considerably smaller (50) than those of the 180s (80). The Coast Guard will want to avoid the additional cost of a substantially larger crew even if the vessel is larger and more capable. The crew, assuming it is conventionally manned, is unlikely to be larger than 15 and might be as few as 10, but I would expect the CO to be an O-3. In any case the Coast Guard will want additional berthing available. (Additional explanation below as to why the crew might be as large as 18.)

Range and Endurance: 

The 87 footers have a nominal range of 882 miles at 10 knots and a five day endurance. This is considerably less range, but the same endurance as the FRCs (5 day endurance/2500 mile range at 14 knots). The Island class were also rated to have a five day endurance and, in fact, a greater range than the FRCs. Given what I see as the likely missions of the class, a five day endurance is probably more than adequate. I would expect they might be required to sprint out 200 to 300 miles at 30+ knots, loiter for perhaps 24 hours, and then return to port at cruise speed, or possibly with a vessel in tow.

The Ship’s Boat:

The 8 meter over-the-horizon boat and a stern ramp like that on the Webber class would probably work here as well.

The Homeland Security Mission:

This is the area that will require a departure from the thinking behind our previous 82 and 87 foot patrol boats. The Homeland Security mission requires that the Coast Guard be ready to immediately counter any unconventional maritime attack. I interpret this, as a need to be able to destroy or at least forcibly stop any vessel, no matter how determined the crew may be to resist, and no matter how large, fast, or maneuverable the vessel may be. We need to be able to deal with small fast highly maneuverable vessels, medium to large merchant ships and everything in between.

We are not prepared to do this.

This class is unique in that, of all the classes of Coast Guard vessels, it is most likely to be both available to immediately respond to attack on its homeport while being large enough to mount the weapons needed to counter the full range of threats.

In almost every port we have vessels that are equipped with 7.62mm and .50 caliber machine guns, but while these may be sufficient to dissuade law breakers without ever firing a shot, they are probably insufficient for dealing with any but the most modest terrorist attack that might be delivered by suicidal crews, using heavier weapons, and vessels of almost any size.

The 25mm ups our game a little, but it, like the machine guns, has the potential of spreading collateral damage. It would also have limited utility against targets much larger than a small boat, although use of the APDS (armor piercing discarding sabot) round (basically a non-explosive, sub-caliber arrow of very dense material) would increase its penetrating power.

Our 57mm guns are decent anti-aircraft guns, but they are very light for dealing with surface targets. None of the ships equipped with 57mm (or 76mm) maintain standby in port, and when they get underway they do not hang around the ports that we might want to protect.

To deal with the range of potential threats, I would suggest, in addition to a gun (presumably the 25mm Mk38 mod2/3), we need to arm the class with Hellfire to deal with small, fast, highly maneuverable targets and either Naval Strike Missile or light weight torpedoes to deal with the larger targets. Lest I be accused of overloading these vessels with weapons let me point out that vessels of similar size have been equipped with a 40mm gun, six anti-ship missiles, two heavy weight torpedo tubes, and small anti-air missiles.

Hauk class patrol boat, HNoMS Lom (P993), 120 feet loa, 160 tons full load. Photo by Inge

Hellfire

There are other missiles that might be considered, but Hellfire has been selected for the LCS and the planned FFG. They are produced in very large numbers. Hellfire could be effective against vessels up to about 100 tons and multiple hits have at least a small chance of disabling much larger ships. It should be possible to have the Hellfires mounted on the Mk38 mod2/3, if not a small footprint vertical launch system should be possible. This is #1 on my wish list.

Naval Strike Missile (NSM)

This is again a weapon selected for the LCS and FFG. It has very long range, over 100 miles, but it would take a lot of coordination to provide the targeting to exploit its range. It is a relatively small anti-ship missile so it might not actually stop large targets. Multiple hits would of course help, but I doubt we would have more than two mounted on the WPB replacement, although they could likely mount four.

Light Weight Torpedo

We could probably place two light weight torpedo tubes on this class in a manner similar to my suggestion for mounting on the Webber class without a great deal of impact on the design of the WPB. Like the NSM this is not a weapon that will sink a large ship, but, hitting below the keel, preferably homing on the propellers, it is more likely than the NSM to effectively stop even a very large ship. For this reason, I favor it over the NSM. Also it would, in most cases, sink ships of up to about 1000 tons.

Ready 24/7

If we want to have at least one of these on immediate standby in every major port, we will need to man and operate them differently in terms of basing and manning. We could base them in pairs and have each crew split into blue and gold teams, either of which could operate the ship and its weapons for short periods, say 24 hours. The ships could swap off standby duties to allow maintenance stand-down. With a crew of 16-18, each blue and gold team could consist of eight or nine members each team headed by a command qualified Lieutenant. This could allow two four-person watches or three three-person watches depending on the requirements of the ship. The Officer rotation might be over two years, with the incoming officer serving first as both XO and head of his underway team. After a year this officer would fleet-up to the CO slot. Newly arrived XOs would have to join the ship during its down time and complete underway familiarization on a sister ship to ensure that when the ship rotates to standby status, both officers are capable of taking her out. 

Other users:

These ships might also be of interest to the Navy and could be offered to other nations as well through Foreign Military Sales.

71 thoughts on “The 87 Foot WPB Replacement –Response Boat, Large –Interceptor

  1. Maybe the USCG can look at replacing the 87 ft patrol boats with the Samuel Beckett-class offshore patrol vessel that the Irish Navy uses.

  2. Something in the range of 35 meters I would think. These would be off the shelf in that category and I would imagine something close to it will be bid for the contract.

    https://defpost.com/us-approves-sale-two-fast-patrol-boats-bahrain/

    Chuck, I think the only way you are going to get missiles on USCG boats and ships is through some pilot program in Bahrain. One thing that is going to be necessary moving forward is a counter uas system on coast guard vessels other than a 25 mm, which you cant just fire into the air in a crowded harbour.. The coyote might be a good option for small ships, which could also be multipurpose.

    For a SSM I think the griffin might make the most sense for the USCG. It has some drawbacks compared to Hellfire, but that light 4 missile launcher would be easy to integrate, and the small warhead size would offer some advantages in regards to collateral damage.

    • That vessel is right in the middle of the range I suggested so it would be a possibility. Found more information about the patrol boats. https://www.naval-technology.com/projects/swiftships-35m-fast-patrol-vessel-fpv/
      This reports that they are equipped with Griffin missiles and that they are capable of 40 knots on only “three MTU 16V2000 M94 main diesel engines, driving three Kamewa A3-63 water jets through ZF 2075 gear boxes. Each engine has a rated power output of 2,450hp.” 7,350 HP total.

      • I wonder why Swiftships and Halter seem to get more FMS work, and Bolinger gets more Coast Guard work. Their commercial\military portfolios all seem pretty similar.

    • For the Coast Guard to fail to exploit guided weapons would be very short sighted because (1) We need precision. We don’t want projectiles flying wildly around US ports. (2) At least in peacetime, we need very few of them. We don’t need deep magazines like the Navy does because we don’t expect to face a swarm of hostile craft or enemy combatants with robust defenses that have to be overwhelmed.

      • I agree, although Im not sure about putting BVR cruise missiles like NSM on cutters in peacetime.

        My point was that appearances matter, especially on cutters stationed stateside.
        The MK6, especially with a typhoon, not only is a gunboat, it looks like a gunboat. In 2002 you could probably have gotten away with it. Not in 2019. Can you imagine the headlines and pics the LA Times and other major papers would publish?

      • Actually I think a 7.62mm machine gun on the bow of a response boat, which we do all the time, looks more intimidating to the average citizen than a larger gun mount trained on the centerline, and missile launchers for the short range missile we have been discussing are almost invisible to the average citizen. The launchers are just tubes and boxes. We have always had guns on our larger cutters. No one seems to object.

    • The Navy has had experience with SeaGriffin and yet they chose the Longbow Hellfire, despite the tact that they have more powerful weapons to deal with more challenging targets while we do not. Anything the Griffin can do, the Longbow Hellfire can do as well, and it has more versatile seekers. The Hellfire launchers should also be able to launch the planned replacement for the Hellfire, the JAGM, which is already in low rate production. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Air-to-Ground_Missile

      • In point of fact the Navy only installed Griffins on the Cyclone class PCs. That may have be a weight limitation issue?
        The Hellfire is a little harder to mount on small combatants.
        It will take the Navy years to put newer missiles on then older LCS

  3. The end of the post briefly mentions that the ships might be of interest to the Navy and perhaps be candidates foreign military sales. Ideally, both would happen. Many who are a lot more qualified than me have commented elsewhere on the need for a small and well-armed vessel. Developing nations also need small, affordable, well-armed ships – I’m thinking of the Latin American countries faced with narcos trafficking drugs and other contraband through the seas.

    In a perfect world, the Navy would purchase a few squadrons’ worth of a small vessel like the one described and train the crews up to proficiency. Meanwhile, places like Guatemala or Columbia would buy the exact same boat. Then we could send pluck our best sailors from our crews for train/assist deployments in those host nations. Our crews would learn through training/assisting their hosts; our hosts would learn to operate the vessels; and we would have engaged with an allied nation’s military and built a few relationships along the way.

    We already do some of this, but the mission would be a lot easier if our sailors were training host nations using the same platform on which the sailors serve in our fleet.

    I hate buzzwords, but I can’t get the word “synergy” out of my mind.

    • I think in Latin America a good idea would be some sort of coproduction deal for patrol boats, specifically with Mexico, and maybe Columbia if it has the capability. Here we are talking about smaller ones, and that would probably be a good place to start.

      In wartime, you could need massive capacity, like we did in Vietnam. Well, you can’t just keep that whole infrastructure waiting around for when it is needed. The boats of this size can be built quickly, the issue is the people. That’s why I agree commonality between the NEC and elements of the Coast Guard is so important. The idea being that the skills and training infrastructure are in place, so they could be quickly expanded during wartime.

  4. Minor point the standard 57mm round for Mk110 gun is not an AA round but boghammar round for the LCS ships.

    L3 won the Navy contract for the 57mm Advanced Low-Cost Munitions Ordnance, ALaMO, to counter boghammar threat of ~30 boats, ALaMO round gives guidance capability to take out gun errors to compensate even at max range of Mk 110 which is only 10,000m/5.4nm and give accuracy of inches, L3 not divulging design used, they did say their ALaMO round does not use fins or vanes as the BAE ORKA developed from the 3P who lost out to L3 for contract.

    ALaMO costing ~50% more than standard non guided round, but kill taking fewer rounds, mention of two ALaMO compared to fifteen standard rounds to take out boghammars which are a ‘bunch of styrofoam’.

    • That is very interesting and might justify replacing both the 25 mm and the Hellfires in my proposal. Since this system could deal with the small, fast, highly maneuverable end of the threat spectrum as well as have some effect on larger vessels. Vessels of the size proposed here have been armed with guns as large as the Oto Melara 76 mm in the past.

      I am writing a separate post to feature this video.

  5. In the same size as the existing 87 footer the Navy is already fielding the Mk VI patrol boat with higher performance at 45 knots, two 25 mm and several.50 calls.
    The 25mm mk38 mod 3 Typhoon mount which was created by the Israelis can also mount two Spike-NLOS missiles with more range than a hellfire. So there’s 4 missiles without any serious alteration of the boat. Those 25mm can also be upgunned to 30mm. There are also two remote .50 calls. The mini-typhoon .50 mount can have a pair of smaller Spike-ER missiles with the same performance as a hellfire. So replace the existing remote .50 mints and you now have 6 missiles, 2x25mm, 2x.50, 45 knots, and the same supply lines as the Navy. They can also be carried in an Amphibious assault ship for easy transport across the ocean

    • I don’t think MK6 patrol boats trolling around LA and NY harbors with turrets mounting hellfire missiles is a political possibility in peacetime, even granting the modern eras nebulous definition of peacetime. Remember all the blowback from law enforcement regarding MRAPs?

  6. Pingback: 57mm ALaMO Round | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

  7. Regarding the Navy MkVI. it certainly fits between the Response Boat Medium and the Webber class FRC and it does meet the speed criteria, but in other respects I think the Coast Guard would consider it a step down from the Marine Protector class. The displacement is smaller (72 vs 91 tons). Its realistic endurance is about 24 hours. The largest boat it has carried is apparently a zodiac outboard which is smaller than the boat currently carried by the 87 footers (that also requires sacrifice of the second 25mm Mk38.The MkVI also appears less seaworthy than the 87 footer. It has lower freeboard. The gun forward is very exposed to water coming over the bow.

    I do think we ought to have some meaningful conversation with Navy Operators to exchange lessons learned and maybe we could produce a joint service vessel that would benefit both services.

    • I agree the Mk VI PB is not much more than a modern “Super Swift Boat”

      BTW they are operated by Riverine sailors in the CRF

  8. I will quote here some comments on the MkVI from some of my previous email correspondence. Just one naval officers brief observation, but I think he gives a good feel for both the strengths and weaknesses of the design.

    I toured one earlier this year at Sea-Air-Space here in DC. It is an impressive boat and it seems they met their requirements very well. But meeting the requirements and successfully doing the conceptual missions laid out in the brief are two separate things

    Looking at the requirements, the Navy asked for an upsized coastal Force Protection boat which could conduct security and boarding missions in the near-shore area. The MK VI can do VBSS and has room for transporting additional personnel, but it’s requirements did not call for the ability to ‘patrol’ or undertake extended missions. The 24hr endurance number is key.

    To give an idea of this limitation, know that the “berths” shown in the brief are actually large storage shelves and padded storage lockers which fit a person laying down, it is not dedicated berthing in any sense. Likewise there is not a water making ability onboard, it only has the water storage tank (100 gallons is I think what they said, but don’t quote me on that).

    So it is really optimized for taking the crew and passengers out a ways from land for a security or escort operations. It isn’t really meant to patrol in the classic sense, sitting out in a particular area of water for multiple days. Talking to some of the former MSRON CO’s, they were skeptical of the MK VI for harbor defense because it is so big; but I think the vessel is meant more for the infrastructure protection missions and the long range escort operations of HVUs as they proceed into a port, where its size, though big, is probably better aligned.

    But for the conceptualized missions (MIW, ASuW, Unmanned Operations, etc.): sure, it will be able to do them, and will probably end up being not half bad in some cases. But it isn’t designed for those missions (lacks the deck space in most cases) because that was not the requirement. So any discussion of such needs to be seen as a one-off or a demo.

    As for missiles and armament. The basic model, as you see in the brief, only has a few dedicated spots for the MK50 mount. But the impression I had was that it is adaptable, with decent room for additional MK50, MK38 and crew-served mounts. There was certainly enough room on the deck over the passenger compartment for the Griffin missile launcher we had on the PC. Though I don’t know about room on the mast for the Laser designator. (And I remain skeptical at how accurate the Griffin would be on a boat tossing around the ocean). Given the space available I am sure one area that could be expanded upon was such small caliber gun mounts or very small missile launchers.

    There is room for two MK38s, FWD and AFT. But when mounted they take up considerable space. The FWD one is pretty exposed on the bow and both are low to the water. On the PCs the MK38s were always taking a pounding from the wind and spray; it doesn’t invalidate the concept, but it is a consideration not fully appreciated until you are having to keep the things covered all the time.

    The boats I saw are just the small outboard zodiacs. I’ve only worked with them once and didn’t see any guns mounted. I never saw or had any inclination from the guys on the MK VI I went onboard that larger boats are intended to be carried onboard.

    As per our other email chain I think the biggest hindrance to this class doing the “conceptual missions” is lack of deck space. A larger deck would allow for more
    flexibility. Though I do appreciate also the hindrances such a design could have.

    I hope that helps. I enjoyed going onboard the ship and was, again, really impressed. If I had to do some sort of HVU protection from the first Sea Buoy to the harbor entrance or set up a security zone around an OPLAT, this would be the vessel I’d want to have. But if I wanted to do long term Mine Clearance ops, set up a VBSS Patrol box, or conduct ISR operations with unmanned vehicles, this would not be the platform I’d turn to.

    As always, my own personal view, not that of the Navy, etc., etc.

  9. just the berthing situation alone is enough to make it a non starter. what does the galley consist of, a few hot cups and a microwave? then there is the lack of deck space.

      • Also they had a coffeepot and maybe a hot plate.

        In total while the MkVI might answer the needs for the Homeland Security mission, at least when the weather is not too bad, it probably does not have all the characteristics the Coast Guard would look for in a vessel that could relieve the FRCs of any short term standby requirement.

      • how so?. it’s way too much to replace the 45s and way not enough to replace a 47.

      • In some places the Reserves don’t have enough boats to go around and I think the MK VI would be great as a District only boat for the Reserves. It would even compliment the 45’s and 47’s. The RBS IMO, should be handed to the Auxiliary and the Gold side keeps the RBM

  10. Pingback: The 87 foot WPB Replacement, an Addendum | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

      • The metal shark one looks like just a marketing concept. I was just thinking about who will bid it and looked at their websites to see what they had in that class. The others are in service boats in the same class as the marine protector, but a little bigger.

        The USCG will want a ramp instead of a crane. That could probably be done with some redesigning. They seem to all have a 20 or 25 mm in that class if they have a main gun.

        I honestly think it will look more like one of these than like a fast attack craft. Hell, the Swiftships 35 meter is trolling around the persian gulf for Iraq and Bahrain right now with just a 25 mm. Those are a lot more dangerous waters than ours.

        While I agree the USCG needs a plan to integrate missiles into its training and supply chain. I think it will have to be done in baby steps, probably starting with USCG ships operating out of USN facilities. Like the submarine escorts and bahrain.

      • Well Here’s the Swiftships 35M fast Patrol boat that Iraq is using

        And you have the 45m Patrol vessel that they are advertising as well

    • That is literally a Corvette. You can not seriously be suggesting replacing an 87 ft. Patrol boat with a 1,500 ton Corvette.

      • Cost also matters, we are going to need something that we can build in relatively large numbers, 60 to 70 or so, and that do not require a crew much larger than that of the 87 footer.

      • Look at it this way, if the USCG is on the “weight – mobility – firepower”’ trap, then we are gona need a patrol boat that can be easily upgunned during wartime in a matter of 72 hours. So looking at how European Navies and Coast Guards that have Patrol boats that border on the light end of a Corvette/OPV, then it would make sense to have a Large patrol boat. Curtain USCG Districts, I can see the need for Larger size patrol boats, namely Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa.

  11. @James W Freeborn, unless the Coast Guard starts thinking outside the box, the type of patrol boats you sited are more likely, but I am arguing for the Coast Guard to make a leap to be what the Congress expected us to be when they put the Coast Guard in the Department of Homeland Security, to have a new vision of their role, and to be what most people assume we are when they hear the title Coast Guard.

  12. nicky I am not sure you realize what cg small ships are supposed to do, they are a heavy weather response when station small boats can’t do the job. having done 2 patrol boats I can say especially when it came to 82s we went when others could not. I have been in horrific seas on wpbs. the ships you have mentioned I would not want to ride on in a serious sea. they are not meant to be heavy weather offshore rescue ships. chuck, while I generally agree, when it comes to arming 87 or it’s replacement you, and others are trying to build a warship out of a rescue ship. true 110s are in the gulf, good with that. and I believe 154s should replace them. but in u.s. waters an 87 or it’s replacement should be a rescue ship first. leave room for weapons, no probs there, but we do rescue as one of our many core jobs. I do firmly believe our larger cutters should be equipped with asw and anti air self defense stuff. but the smaller cutters, 87 types, basic defense stuff.. I do agree that we need bigger guns. but an 82 is an 87 is a what’s next, unless you want a sloop or corvette for the next inshore patrol ship. torpedos? really? sorry don’t see it on cg small ships. maybe in wartime but i’m not seeing ww3 around the corner. make space, maybe.

    • Concur that rescue and LE will remain core missions, but a third mission, as I see it, is to be ready to thwart a terrorist attack. It is a low probability but high impact event. That is not preparing for war and it is not enough to leave room to add weapons some time in the future.

      This class is unique in being most likely to be in the right place at the right time to thwart such an attack.

      I don’t see a stern launch as necessary, but I think others do. The feedback I have gotten from the Webber class is that they are happy with them.

      I have become convinced that the stern ramp boat launching, and particularly recovery, works best when the ship and boat are closer in size. As the size of the ship increases relative to the boat, the rise and fall of the ramp and the boat are more likely to be out of sync.

      The National Security Cutters had have had problems with the stern gate (doors?) and the overhead frame that moved boats to and from the ramp, that overhead frame was not really adequate. I hear it is being fixed.

  13. also have you looked at the 87′? not meant to be sarcasm but I have a serious prob with the deck space on those. also have to admit to being less then a fan of the stern launch system. waste of deck space, and below deck space. imo. knew a chief mk on a 418, nsc, he friggin hated the stern launch system on them. lots of maint. probs. electrical. personally ain’t been there. but this kid served with me twice and a decent snipe, I tend to believe what he says. he bitched a lot but I ran interference. good snipe in long run.
    my bitchiest snipe were pretty damn good. scotty galvin and bill pfieffer you guys qual as bitches.

  14. running a tow in an 87 has got to be more involved then an 82 or 110. or so it looks. some one with more recent experience who knows how we did tow and what they do now i’d be glad to hear from. love any updates.. then again I would love to see engineroom pics from a 270 without towers. but just a nosy snipe.

  15. by the way this I know isn’t the place but other cg sites don’t seem to want to give it up. maybe they don’t have. 270 engine rooms not exactly opsec stuff.

  16. there are no issues, just sinse I left campbell, they have done away with waste heat towers. I would like to see engineroom picsafter the change. of 4 ships cgc campbell was my fav. I am a snipe I want to see after waste heat pics. pretty sure it’s not opsec shit. simple as that.

  17. One thought on uparming the USCG. Ive been on Lemoore NAS a fair amount recently for work. And i drive by the 144th ANG weekly. A month ago I had breakfast at that park right next to the Coast Guard Station at Monterey. There are vastly different levels of security in Lemoore and Fresno than Monterey. Putting guided weapons on smaller ships does make sense for antiterrorism, and I know Chuck feels passionately about that. But it is much harder to do logistically. If you are storing hellfire missiles or even larger munitions at relatively small USCG facilities, we would have to significantly increase security there.

    • Upgrade from 25mm to the 57mm Mk110 where possible.

      With the Alamo round you have a very credible small craft or even anti-swarm capability. The gun gives you a credible anti-aircraft (drone or lower performance aircraft) capability. What’s missing as far as I know is a deep penetrating round for use against larger surface targets. Developing and procuring such a round seems a lower hill to climb than putting guided missiles and torpedoes on smaller coast guard vessels operating out of US ports.

      The Mk110 might not be ideal in any one role but it is credible, with the right ammunition, in any likely CG role. It can give you credible, broad capabilities in one weapon system. That to me seems a good fit for the CG.

      To me, this is more practical than working through the issues needed to turn smaller cutters into hybrid FACs.

      The point has been made the Mk110 is expensive. This is partly a function of units sold. A more broad leveraging of the system surely lowers the cost per unit and provides incentives to continue to develop the gun and perhaps more importantly the rounds it fires.

      Take this as food for thought and discussion.

      • I am all in favor of developing a deep penetrating round for the 57mm, probably a discarding sabot round.

        On the other hand the Longbow hellfire is already in production and definitely meets the lower end requirements and eight of them would cost less than the gun mount.

        The torpedoes are already produced. All we have to do is get the Navy to consider putting them on cutters as suitable temporary storage until such time as they start using large quantities of them.

        Still it would be good to have all three. If we could hit even the largest threat vessels with two light weight torpedoes, eight Hellfire and about 200 rounds of 57mm, I think it would have the desired effect. There might be some redundancy, but that is not a bad thing.

    • Nicky, that does look interesting, especially if the Marines and Navy start to use it.

      Probably will use a smaller, lighter (cheaper) mount than the 57mm Mk110.

      Significantly it looks like there will be a wide variety of ammunition types available, including armor piercing–unlike the Mk110.

    • A 50 mm gun is going to fire a much lighter projectile than the 57mm. Don’t know how much it will weigh but generally 40mm guns fire a two pound projectile while 57mm projectile is a bit under 6 pounds. Scaling up the 40mm suggest that a 50mm projectile would weigh just under four pounds.

      • @Nicky, I would hope it would replace the 25mm Mk38s.

        Since it pushes the effective range out beyond 4,000 yards, it meets one of my criteria–out ranging likely improvised armament a terrorist organization might use.

        Perhaps L3 could adapt their guided projectile to this smaller projectile as well.

  18. I dont disagree Chuck. I was coming from the perspective of you get only one. If you get one, the Mk110 is the most versatile.

    I am making the assumption there will be considerable barriers to overcome before the CG is operating what are essentially lower end FACs.

    Upgunning to a more capable gun already in inventory seems like an easier path.

    • Well we need to address the threat. We have about nine years before we will almost surely have to replace the oldest of the Marine Protector class. Lets hope the service gets off their ass and starts figuring out how they will address the problem.

      My nightmare is that there will be a maritime terrorist attack and that the Coast Guard will be unable to stop it because we are not properly equipped. Fingers will point first at the Navy, but then they will say “no that was the Coast Guard’s job.”

      • I see your argument Chuck. By the way, both the Army and Marines are doing some interesting work in what amounts to coastal defense. The Airforce and Navy are again putting effort into surface (anti-ship) warfare.

        The focus of that effort is near peer conflict but there may be applicability to our own coast as well.

        As you have pointed out in the past, the hurdles to actual coastal defense are at least as much institutional as they are technical.

      • Yes by law Coast Defense is still the Army’s job, but since they decommissioned all those forts and coast defense guns, they have not put a lot of money into it. We certainly have a lot of assets scattered around the country, but they are really not ready to respond.

        The Navy used to be scattered along the coast, but they are now concentrated in five port complexes and they do not patrol the coast and they are not ready to respond to an unconventional attack on US ports.

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