Polar Landing Craft

Arctic Survey Boat

The Coast Guard has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for a “Polar Landing Craft” (PLC) to be used from the Polar Security Cutter (apparently one per ship). (See the link on the photo caption as the foot of the post for information on a similar craft developed for the Canadian Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship.)

The U.S. Coast Guard intends to procure three Polar Landing Craft (PLC) as utility boats for the Polar Security Cutter (PSC) Class heavy icebreakers.  The two existing utility boats used by the USCG’s existing Icebreakers, the USCGC POLAR STAR and HEALY, are the Arctic Survey Boat (ASB) and the Landing Craft Vehicle and Personnel (LCVP).  The performance capabilities of these two boats, have been combined in the attached Specification and Statement of Work to create the desired capabilities of the PLC for deployment and use from the PSC.

Basic specifications are:

  • Maximum Length: 38 feet
  • Max Beam: 12 feet
  • Max Displacement: 20,000 pounds
  • Max Height, Keel to Highest Point (Antennas in stowed position) 15 feet

I have copied and pasted here some of the more salient specifications included in the 68 page draft specification document (accessible from the RFI linked above).

051-2.1 Operate – The PLC shall be capable of operating and conducting missions in mid Sea State 3.

051-2.2 Survive – The PLC shall be capable of surviving in Sea State 4.
051-2.3 Water Temperatures – The PLC shall be capable of being operated continuously in water temperatures ranging from 28 degrees to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
051-2.4 Air Temperatures – The PLC shall be capable of being stowed continuously and
operated continuously in air temperatures ranging from -40 degrees to 95 degrees
051-2.5 The PLC shall operate in ice and slush not to exceed 1/2 inch. Shall operate in
brash ice and ice floes of a minimum of 3/10 coverage.

051-2.6 Speed – The PLC, in the Performance Condition Weight, shall be capable of
transiting at full speed in Sea State 0, 10 knots in Sea State 3, and at a minimum of
6 knots in Sea State 4 without damage to the boat’s structure, equipment or harm
to the crew or embarked passengers.

051-4.1 Full Speed – The PLC shall be capable of achieving 25 knots sustained speed in Sea State 0 in the Performance Condition Weight.
051-4.2 Range – The PLC shall be capable of transiting 100 NM (threshold) or 200 NM
(objective) in the Performance Condition Weight at the most economical speed
with a useable 10% fuel reserve in Sea State 0.

051-7.1 The PLC shall be capable of towing a variety of craft of similar displacement and weight, astern and alongside, in conditions up to Sea State 3.
051-7.2 The PLC shall be capable of being towed by the bow or alongside.

070-3.1 The PLC shall have a fully enclosed pilothouse and shall include seating for 5
persons (threshold) or 6 persons (objective) onboard.

070-3.7 The PLC shall be capable of operating with a total of twelve (threshold) or fifteen (objective) persons onboard.
070-3.8 The PLC machinery and systems shall be capable of being easily reached for
inspection, removal, or maintenance without removal of permanent boat structure.
070-3.9 The PLC shall be equipped with a powered bow ramp with a minimum width of at least 6 feet and rated for at least 1,000 lbs.
070-3.9.1 The bow ramp shall have a minimum length of at least 4 feet 6 inches.
070-3.9.2 The bow ramp shall be capable of deployment up to 45 degrees below
070-3.9.3 The bow ramp shall be electrically or hydraulically powered.
070-3.12 The PLC shall have at least 75 square feet of recessed open deck space forward of the pilothouse to store a minimum of 3,000 lbs of cargo, personnel and
equipment. (assuming the width of the recessed open deck space is the same as the minimum width of the ramp-6′, then the space would be at least 12.5′ long, less than a third of the maximum permissible length–Chuck)

4 thoughts on “Polar Landing Craft

  1. The bow ramp is interesting and I can see that being very useful for disaster and Hurricane relief and also provide more functions and roles than just as a USCG icebreaker’s PLC.

    The PLC is probably too slow for special forces, but it would help Marines and Army move about at a good speed for small special operations if silenced enough and armored. The Army Corps of Engineers would be thrilled to have some to move construction vehicles, material, and personnel to remote locations to build.

    The PLC would make a great addition for the Customs and Border Patrol, police, National Park Service, Search and Rescue, Water and Dam Departments, medical, Safari Rangers, and scientists to drive their ATVs and RZRs to remote islands for patrols, rescue, medical relief, construction, animal relocation, and to haul repair machinery. It could also act as a delivery boat for sustenance and groceries to remote inhabited islands.

    That powered bow ramp is what makes the PLC special. Wouldn’t it be wiser to make the powered bow ramp electrical to prevent the hydraulic fluids and grease from freezing up even if using special low-temperature oils and grease?

  2. Good procurement. I see that the canadian cratt which is about the same size at 39m, can carrier alot more weight 8,000 vs 3.000, but it may have less space for personel.

  3. Munson Boats has been building this type of bow ramp craft for a couple of decades. The 9th District had a similar one that was outboard powered (although the company builds inboard too) at Station/Ant Portage. The crew oved it because they could get to Isle Royal and back the same day vice plodding along.

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