Contract Award for the Fourth Offshore Patrol Cutter

Photo: Rendering of the future USCGC RUSH (WMSM 918) provided by Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. Click on the photo for a better view. 

Below is a press release from Eastern Shipbuilding Group. To review the situation, the Coast Guard is expected to make a decision in the near future regarding the award of the next batch of Offshore Patrol Cutters. Eastern is one of the competitors.


         April 26, 2022

Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. Announces Construction of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Fourth Offshore Patrol Cutter

PANAMA CITY, FL – Today, Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. (ESG) announced the U.S. Coast Guard has awarded a contract to begin construction of the fourth Heritage Class offshore patrol cutter (OPC), the future USCGC RUSH (WMSM 918).

The OPC will form the backbone of the service’s future fleet around the globe. ESG has worked hard to earn this opportunity and is honored to be chosen to perform this important work for the United States. ESG, in collaboration with its partners, produced the winning design of the OPC and was awarded detail design and construction of the first hulls in 2016. The new OPC designs reflect cutting-edge technology and will replace the service’s 270-foot and 210-foot medium endurance cutters, which are becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and operate.

“This follow-on award signifies the OPC team and our partners continue to provide quality craftsmanship and unparalleled service. We have a focused vision to support the OPC Program with shipbuilding excellence and provide the country with a long-term industrial capability that can produce exceptional vessels that support national security interests,” said Joey D’Isernia, President of Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc.

As prime contractor, ESG has successfully achieved program goals and mitigated the impacts of COVID-19 and current supply chain challenges. It expects to christen the first vessel this year, is nearly halfway through completion of the second vessel, and will host the keel authentication of the third OPC in a few weeks. The pace of production accelerates with each vessel that comes online.

“We utilized state of the market technology, design, and construction methodologies to offer a more capable vessel than legacy assets currently in service. The innovations built into the OPCs were designed for sustainability and endurance and come from the ingenuity of the best engineers and manufacturers in the world. We thank the hundreds of partners and employees in the thirty-four states supporting us in this effort,” continued D’Isernia.

Construction is taking place at ESG’s Nelson Street Shipyard in Panama City, Florida, a facility that is optimized for multi-hull construction of the Offshore Patrol Cutter and dedicated to supporting the U.S. Coast Guard.

ESG survived the third largest U.S. hurricane in 2018 and has fully rebuilt its operational facilities. The company made many infrastructure investments from $50 million in state appropriations and economic development grants that benefit the OPC project with enhanced manufacturing capabilities and efficiencies that reduce cost and schedule risk. These infrastructure investments include an aluminum fabrication facility specifically designed to support full construction of the OPC aluminum superstructure in a covered and controlled environment. ESG has also completed launch way upgrades, upland bulkhead upgrades, construction platen expansions, and waterway deepening projects to further enhance ESG’s capability to launch and deliver two OPC sized vessels per year.

At its Allanton Shipyard, ESG has constructed a state-of-the-art C5ISR Production Facility to conduct testing and integration of navigation, communication, and command and control, equipment, and simulators on premises prior to final installation on the vessel.

10 thoughts on “Contract Award for the Fourth Offshore Patrol Cutter

  1. “Future fleet around the globe?” Doesn’t sound like a Coast Guard to me. More like a Quasi-Paramiltary Navy.

    Are the American taxpayers privy to this militaristic over-reach?

    • I have been reporting our distant patrols, not because they constitute a major part of Coast Guard operations, but because they are unusual. What the Coast Guard is doing is much different from “gunboat diplomacy.” We are not imposing our will on the weak, we are assisting in enforcement of laws enacted by sovereign nations. It is law enforcement assistance rather than a military imposition.

      We are certainly not keeping these operations secret.

      Why should we care that the Chinese are stealing fish from nations that are unable to enforce their own law? China has chosen to be our enemy rather than a responsible member of the global community. We don’t like to see them strengthened by robbing their neighbors. We don’t want to see them weaken small nations to the point that they have no choice but forfeit their independence in exchange for Chinese assistance.

      The idea is that capacity building will allow the small nations to continue to stand on their own. Otherwise, it will become a choice of the US providing direct support or allowing them to fall under the sway of the Chinese.

    • Coast Guard is defined by US Code as a paramilitary force. It by design everything from maritime safety organization, to a search & rescue organization, to law enforcement force, to auxiliary Navy all in one. Additionally US sovereign territory extends far beyond the 48 contiguous… And it doesn’t end at Alaska and Hawaii. Look at the map and see the vast extent of sovereign US waters in the Pacific. That alone means the Coast Guard needs a fleet with a global reach, and one that partners with neighbors far away from Canada and Mexico.

  2. What ever happened to the concept proposed by the USCG back in May/June 2021 of using Titanium to hull their OPC!/? And do you think and/or know whether the OPC delayed schedule of the OPC is due to the premise of actually putting the actual concept of “Titanium” into actual production…

    • There’s no way titanium will ever be used. Too expensive, difficult to work, and too precious a resource. Now, the added complication most titanium comes from Russia and we’re sanctioning them. Titanium is only used “as needed” on military aircraft due to high cost and limited availability and you think they’d make an entire hull out of it?!? I can’t believe this was ever seriously considered or talked about.

  3. Here is what the Acquisitions Directorate had to say about this:

    The Coast Guard modified its current contract with Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) April 25 to begin construction of the fourth offshore patrol cutter (OPC). Contract delivery of the fourth OPC, to be named “Rush,” is scheduled to occur in 2025. The total value of this contracting action is $325.06 million.

    The first three OPCs are currently in production at ESG’s shipyard in Panama City, Florida.

    The OPC meets the service’s long-term need for cutters capable of deploying independently or as part of a larger task force and is essential to stopping smugglers at sea, rescuing mariners, enforcing fisheries laws, responding to disasters, interdicting non-citizens and protecting the nation. The acquisition of up to 25 OPCs will complement the capabilities of the service’s national security cutters and fast response cutters as an essential element of the Department of Homeland Security’s layered maritime security strategy.

    For more information: Offshore Patrol Cutter Program page

  4. The OPC Program is a perfect fit for Eastern Shipbuilding Group’s production group, it’s facilities, their processes for managing and building a multi-ship program, a very capable engineering team with very experienced naval architects, engineers and an advanced group of FORAN experts working the Sener CAD/CAM/CAE system for the design and building of ships, now for several years. ESG was one of the first shipyards to integrate the FORAN software fully into its shipbuilding processes for all vessels built. The OPC’s will be the best performing ships ever built for the USCG.

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