CIMSEC has a post, written by a serving USCG engineer, about why the Coast Guard should not take on the Navy’s unwanted Littoral Combat Ships (LCS). For this discussion, it may be important that you see the author’s qualifications.
“Lieutenant Joey O’Connell has served aboard two Coast Guard cutters as an engineer. He is currently a Medium Endurance Cutter (MEC) port engineer, planning and overseeing depot-level maintenance on the aging MEC fleet. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and two masters degrees—one in naval architecture and the other in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “
It appears the author makes a convincing case, but I would add additional caveats.
The maximum range of the Freedom class, on their installed diesels, is about one third that of the Offshore Patrol Cutter and about half that of the over 50+ year old 210 foot Reliance class WMECs. That is totally unacceptable for typical Coast Guard operations.
The semiplaning hull required to allow the Freedom class to make its exceptionally high speed does not handle rough seas well. The resulting fatigue will limit the performance of the crew, and ship’s motion can preclude helicopter and boat operations in demanding environments. Earlier evaluation found that the OPC could conduct boat and helicopter operations in conditions when the LCS could not.
While the Freedom class have spacious aviation facilities, I have seen very little about their boat handling facilities and these are a cutter’s main armament for law enforcement. They might require extensive rework. Video from USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) below: