“Coast Guard releases final request for proposal for industry studies” –CG-9

OPC “Placemat”

The following is from the Acquisitions Directorate (CG-9) web site. Final responses are required by 31 Jan. 2020. Will see equal urgency in the award?

The Coast Guard released a final request for proposal (RFP) Jan. 10, 2020, for industry studies to support offshore patrol cutter (OPC) follow-on production. The RFP is available here.

This release follows the Industry Day event held Dec. 11, 2019, and the release of the draft RFP.

The deadline to submit responses to the final RFP is Jan. 31, 2020.

The Coast Guard plans to acquire 25 OPCs. The cutters will replace the 270-foot and 210-foot medium endurance cutters, which are becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and operate. The OPCs will bridge the capabilities of the national security cutters, which patrol the open ocean, and the fast response cutters, which serve closer to shore.

For more information: Offshore Patrol Cutter program page

Looking into this a little further, we find the notional delivery dates and construction schedule show one OPC delivered per year beginning in 2022, continuing through 2028 (#1-7), including the first four from Eastern. Then two per year 2029–2036 (#8-23), follow by one in 2037 and one in 2038. (Why the drop back in delivery rate at the end of the program is a bit hard to understand.)

11 thoughts on ““Coast Guard releases final request for proposal for industry studies” –CG-9

  1. Looking further into the files provided, I noticed changes in GFE. For example Mk 53 mod 6 NULKA to Mk 53 mod 10, Mk 20 mod 0 EOSS to Mk 20 mod 1 EOSS, plus some others. I also noticed it appears the OPC will have Link 22, and will still be built to modified NVR despite that Eastern Shipbuilding press release that mentioned all NVR sometime back, and still maintains separate main machinery spaces for redundancy.

    I found something the other day I missed, they released an updated OPC “placemat”, you may have already seen it, but it can be found here:

    https://fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/R42567.pdf

    • The “Placemat” is on page 9 of the current edition of the Congressional Research Service report. The information on the “Placemat” that I don’t remember seeing earlier are the

      Displacements: 3,522 tons (light), 4,520 tons (full load), and 4,875 tons (full load EOSL (end of service life I presume)). and

      Acommodations: 20 officers, 12 CPOs, and 94 other enlisted, 126 total.

      These ships will be every bit as large as the National Security Cutters.

      • So much for the OPC being a medium sized patrol frigate, compared to the large NSC. I really worry about how the larger crew compliment and more complex ship in general will effect the readiness budget. From what I’ve seen the 270s have a compliment of 100, and the 210s have a compliment of 75. OPC POR would result in 3150 billets which is significantly greater than the 2350 billets from the current 270/210 fleet. And that is with 2 less hulls in the water… I’m not sure this makes sense considering the number of cutters expected won’t meet the mission need. Seems the Coast Guard going straight down the same mistake the Navy did by being too top heavy. Unable to pay for the hulls in the water resulting in either a readiness crash or needing to put hulls in mothballs early due to limited budgets… Risking an incident of their own or exasperating the mission capability gap. OPC recompete is really an opportunity for the Coast Guard to learn a lesson from her sister service and stop the buy at a dozen, then move onto something akin to a modern 210.

      • @Cokolman, We can’t assume that accommodations for 126 will mean a crew of 126. There has to be room for an aviation detachment and other passengers. The regular crew may still be as small at 100, but even that would be a substantial increase when they are replacing 210s with a crew of 75.

        These 25 ships are really replacing more than just the 14 x 210s and 13 x 270s. There is also Alex Haley plus two 210s that were decommissioned earlier as were some older WMECs.

        The relatively large number of Webber class have to so extent made up for this, 64 boats replacing 49 x 110 foot WPBs, but this also adds to the manning problem.

        There is also the fact that shore side facilities may have to be improved to support these larger ships, and more support personnel will be required to support the larger number of afloat personnel.

        Increasing efficiency may help, but it only goes so far.

      • It does seem to me that the OPCs will be every bit as capable as the NSC. The website states, “The OPC will provide a capability bridge between the national security cutter, which patrols the open ocean in the most demanding maritime environments, and the fast response cutter, which serves closer to shore.”

        I could see the “capability bridge” of the 270s and 210s when the CG had the 378s and Island class. I think a big issue will be seeing how much this program costs and the capability that the OPC brings in comparison to the NSC. Even as the FRC is the foremost vessel patrolling the EEZ, like you’ve pointed out earlier, the FRC has been punching above it’s weight class with cruises and patrols much further out than our EEZ. So it’s an open question of what gap exactly the OPC fills since it’s fielding much of the same equipment/capabilities as the NSC.

      • With that said, I think a more apt observation of the OPC, rather than a “capability bridge”, would be somewhat like the relationship between the Arleigh-Burke and Ticonderoga class. Both, in essence, can carry out the same missions and responsibilities if need be. I see that interplay in the OPC/NSC more so than the OPC being a sort of Malcom-in-the-Middle.

  2. Looks like they will be constructed ready for both Special Intelligence and Unmanned Air System.
    These are going to be much more capable ships than the ones they replace.

  3. There is very little an NSC can do that an OPC cannot. Specifically, NSCs are faster, they have better NBC protection in terms of a pressurized and filtered gas tight envelop, and they have Phalanx.

    Adding Phalanx to the OPCs would be easy but SeaRAM would be preferable and should be no more difficult.

    In almost all respects except top speed, which has been seldom used, the OPCs are as capable or more so than the 378s.

    Nominally the NSCs could escort a carrier battlegroup, but currently they don’t have capabilities that are likely to be needed by a carrier battlegroup. On the other hand the OPCs are capable of operating with task groups built around big deck amphibs which could be used as light carriers if equipped with F-35s. They are not normally escorted.

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