“Coast Guard cutters mark SLEP milestones for ISVS Program” –CG-9

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Seneca prior to prototype SLEP

Below is an Acquisitions Directorate (CG-9) report on a couple of “In Service Vessel Sustainment” (ISVS) projects. This talks about the Polar Star, but we already knew about that. This is the first report on the WMEC270 SLEP that I can recall. It corrects my previous impression that Harriet Lane was to be the first. Seneca was the first. It also says,

Six more of the 13 in-service WMECs will undergo SLEP work, with production work starting in 2023.

I was under the impression that only six total were to be SLEPed. Does “production work starting in 2023,” mean what was done to Seneca and will be done to Harriet Lane is not a full-fledged SLEP?

If work on these two ships is “prototyping” and not “production,” it may be significant that these two cutters were built by different builders, Harriet Lane having been one of the four built by Tacoma Boat and Seneca one of the nine built by Robert Derecktor Shipyard. There may be some differences within the class.

It was anticipated that the 76mm Mk75 gun was to be removed, along with, presumably, the Mk92 fire control system, to be replaced with a Mk38 gun mount.  There is no mention of this.

Coast Guard cutters mark SLEP milestones for ISVS Program

April 21, 2022

Two Coast Guard service life extension programs (SLEP) reached milestones in early April – prototype work was completed on a 270-foot medium endurance cutter (WMEC) and Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star commenced the second phase of its SLEP work.

SLEPs address specific systems and major maintenance to extend the service life of the vessel to meet cost, schedule and performance requirements. They are part of the In-Service Vessel Sustainment Program, which conducts strategic major maintenance and recapitalization as vessels age and critical systems become obsolete, improving the reliability of Coast Guard vessels, helping control maintenance costs and increasing time spent underway.

For the WMEC SLEP, Coast Guard Cutter Seneca recently departed Coast Guard Yard April 4 for its homeport in Portsmouth, Virginia. Seneca served as a prototype for the SLEP work on the WMECs, which is a renewal of several mission-critical systems including electrical updates with new generators, switchboards and Coast Guard machinery control system software updates.

“This wraps up a successful nine-month project at Coast Guard Yard that began in July 2021 totaling over $6.4 million,” said Lt. Charles Lortz, the Project Residence Office Baltimore 270-foot WMEC SLEP section chief. “Beyond the difficulties inherent to a prototype project, the Seneca project followed an expedited planning process to more quickly deliver a more capable asset to the fleet. It was certainly noted, by all involved, that this project was charting new territory.”

Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane arrived at Coast Guard Yard March 28 and will undergo prototype refinements. Six more of the 13 in-service WMECs will undergo SLEP work, with production work starting in 2023. The WMEC SLEP will sustain capabilities to meet mission needs until they are replaced by offshore patrol cutters.

As Seneca was heading to its homeport, Polar Star transited from the San Francisco Bay to Mare Island Dry Dock LLC in Vallejo, California. On April 8, it commenced the second phase of SLEP work items and recurring maintenance, which is taking place over a five-year, annually phased production schedule that runs through 2025. During the second phase, Polar Star SLEP will recapitalize two engineering control systems: one will operate and control the cutter’s 75,000 shaft horsepower gas turbines and auxiliary systems while the other control system is dedicated to the diesel electric propulsion plant. When completed, Polar Star’s SLEP will have replaced a number of major systems and extended the service life of the Coast Guard’s only operational heavy icebreaker.

The Coast Guard is also investing in a new fleet of polar security cutters (PSC) that will sustain the service’s capabilities to meet mission needs in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. The first PSC is on contract for delivery in 2025. Polar Star will stay in service until the second PSC is operational.

For more information: In-Service Vessel Sustainment Program page

USCGC Harriet Lane Headed for Service Life Extension Program

USCGC Harriet Lane (WMEC-903), March 17, 2009. US Coast Guard photo.

Below is an Atlantic Area news release. It is about a relatively routine patrol by USCGC Harriet Lane, but there is a bit of news here.

“The crew shifted gears upon return to homeport and met the next challenge of readying Harriet Lane for an important maintenance upgrade cycle…Following this patrol, the vessel will undergo a nine-month planned maintenance and upgrade period at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore.”

It is not apparent from the text of the news release, but apparently the cutter arrived in Curtis Bay to be SLEP on March 28. Got that from a photo caption. Sorry no idea when she returned to Portsmouth after the patrol or when she departed for the Yard.

—-Wish these news releases included departure and arrival dates—

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane arrives at the Coast Guard Yard for a service life extension in Baltimore, March 28, 2022. The cutter will remain in Baltimore without the crew for approximately nine months during the overhaul project.

It appears Harriet Lane will be the first of six WMEC-270s to undergo the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) that will keep ships of the class in service until the Offshore Patrol Cutter construction program is expected to be completed in 2038.

“WMEC SLEP includes electrical system upgrades, remanufactured main diesel engines, structural renewal for stern tube and piping, and installation of a new gun weapon system supplied by the U.S. Navy. “

There are still some unanswered questions as to what will be included in the “upgrade.” We know they will loose the 76mm Mk75 gun, replaced by a 25mm Mk38, and presumably the M92 “mini-combat” firecontrol system that also provides the ships an airsearch capability that can be used for helicopter control. Will there be a replacement multi-mode radar? Will they get only one or perhaps two Mk38 guns? Will the ships retain their electronic warfare equipment that can be use in law-enforcement operations? Will they get an Unmanned Air System? Will there be changes to the aviation support equipment to better handle the larger MH-60, as it becomes the shipboard helo of choice? Maybe CG-9 will give us an update in the not too distant future.

Harriet Lane is one of the oldest 270s, commissioned in 1984. (The newest was commissioned in 1991.) She was one of four built by Tacoma Boatbuilding, before the program was switched to Robert Derecktor Shipyard, where the last nine were built. Will all four of the Tacoma Boat built cutters go through the program?

As I noted earlier, assuming the Mk38 gun will be on the bow, it probably should be mounted on a raised platform, with a breakwater, to better protect it from water coming over the bow. It would also allow the weapon to engage targets at closer range.

News Release

USCGC Harriet Lane returns home following 50-day patrol

USCGC Harriet Lane returns home following 50-day patrolUSCGC Harriet Lane returns home following 50-day patrol

USCGC Harriet Lane returns home following 50-day patrolUSCGC Harriet Lane returns home following 50-day patrolUSCGC Harriet Lane returns home following 50-day patrol

Editors’ Note: To view more or download high-resolution imagery, click on the photos above.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The crew of USCGC Harriet Lane (WMEC 903) returned to homeport in Portsmouth on Monday, following a 50-day patrol in the North Atlantic Ocean.

While on patrol, the Harriet Lane crew navigated over 6,559 miles along the southeastern coast of the United States, extending as far south as the northern coast of Cuba and east to The Bahamas, performing migrant interdiction and search and rescue operations in support of the U.S. Coast Guard Seventh District.

The Harriet Lane patrolled the Florida Straits to aid with a recent surge in unsafe and illegal migration by sea. The crew interdicted six unseaworthy vessels carrying approximately 467 individuals of Cuban or Haitian origin and cared for more than 520 migrants aboard the cutter during a four-week time span while awaiting logistics for repatriation.

The crew also assisted in two search and rescue cases after receiving notification of an individual stranded on Anguilla Cay, Bahamas and another case where several people were stranded in the water near Cuban territorial waters.

“I remain in awe of this steadfast crew. They answered the call on multiple occasions during our patrol, ensuring safety of life at sea while preventing illegal entry into the United States,” said Cmdr. Ben Goff, commanding officer of the Harriet Lane. “This mission can take an emotional toll, but our team stuck together and persevered through every challenge and adversity presented. The crew shifted gears upon return to homeport and met the next challenge of readying Harriet Lane for an important maintenance upgrade cycle with aplomb. We are forever grateful for the outstanding support we receive across the Coast Guard and from our loved ones at home. I’m looking forward to getting our crew well-earned downtime with friends and family.”

Following this patrol, the vessel will undergo a nine-month planned maintenance and upgrade period at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore.

The Harriet Lane is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter responsible for a variety of missions, including search and rescue, drug interdiction, migrant interdiction, other law enforcement and marine environmental protection.

The U.S. Coast Guard national security and medium endurance vessels homeported on the East Coast operate under the ultimate authority of the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area commander located in Portsmouth, Virginia, overseeing all Coast Guard operations east of the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf.


“Coast Guard Cutter Forward and Coast Guard Cutter Bear, homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia, finish an at-sea transfer while underway on a two-month patrol. Coast Guard Cutter Forward returned to homeport on April 10, 2021.” (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

This caught my attention, because I was not sure if the SLEP for 270s had begun. Apparently we are still in the planning stage.

Good to see deck plate users are being asked their opinion.

Maybe questions like the need for an multifunction radar, electronic warfare systems, and type and number of weapons are still open. See “Don’t Neuter the Medium-Endurance Cutter Fleet” –USNI

It would be nice if these ships came out of SLEP with some enhancements, not just reduced capabilities. The ability to operate UAS and enhanced EO/IR capabilities come to mind.

united states coast guard

R 051250Z NOV 21
ALCOAST 406/21
SSIC 5102
1. This ALCOAST solicits volunteers to participate in a three-day
270′ Medium Endurance Cutter (WMEC) Service Life Extension Project
(SLEP) Operational Assessment (OA) in Portsmouth, VA from 25-27
January 2022. The OA is a review and analysis of intended work
items to determine the operational capability and effectiveness
expected to be delivered during the upcoming WMEC 270 SLEP. The
OA will be used to identify equipment or process discrepancies that
may degrade mission efficiency, and assesses the effectiveness and
suitability of a system or service during the WMEC 270 SLEP.
2. Background: The WMEC 270 SLEP is essential to maintaining viable
platforms while OPCs are being constructed so as not to have a gap
in offshore operational capacity.
3. The OA is a tabletop documentation review by experienced active
duty members who are currently serving, or have recently served on
WMEC 270s. SMEs will assist the Operational Test Director (OTD) in
determining suitability of system changes during the WMEC 270 SLEP.
An OA report will be submitted to the Vice Commandant and DHS’
Office of Test and Evaluation to assess the WMEC 270 SLEP proposal.
4. The OA mission areas are grouped below.
    a. Operations. Comprised of CO/XO, OPS, ET, and OS. This group
will focus on mobility, command and control, and launch and recovery
of cutter boats and helicopters.
    b. Deck. Comprised of 1LT, GM with Mk 38 Mod 2/3 experience, and
Deck BM. This group will focus on anchoring, launch and
recovery of cutter boats and helicopters, and employment of
the new 270 SLEP weapon suite.
    c. Engineering. Comprised of EO, AUXO, ENG, MK, and EM. This
group will focus on launch and recovery of cutter boats, the new
SLEP Electrical Power System, equipment and machinery maintenance
and repair, reliability, maintainability, and engineering casualty
    d. Support. Comprised of F&S, and SK. This group will focus on
logistics supportability.
    e. Aviation. Comprised of helicopter pilots with ship deployment
experience. This group will focus on helicopter launch and recovery.
5. Personnel required.            Rate/Rank         Required Experience
CO                  1                     O-5/O-6               270′ WMEC CO
XO                  1                     O-4/O-5               270′ WMEC XO
EO                  2                     O-3/O-4               270′ WMEC EO
OPS                1                     O-3/O-4               270′ WMEC OPS
AUXO              2                     O-1/O-2              270′ WMEC AUXO
HH-65 PILOTS  2                     O-3/O-4              270′ WMEC Deployed
ENG                2                      CWO                   NESU/MPA
F&S                 1                      CWO                   SUPPO
BM (Deck)        2                      E-5/E-6               270′ WMEC
EM                   2                     E-5/E-6                270′ WMEC
ET                    1                     E-5/E-6                270′ WMEC/ESU
GM                   2                     E-5/E-6                MK38 Mod 2/3
MK                   2                     E-5/E-6                 270′ WMEC/MAT
OS                   1                      E-6/E-7                 270′ WMEC
SK                   1                      E-5/E-6                  270′ WMEC
6. Volunteers must be available for the entire three-day event.
SMEs will be provided read-ahead documents in preparation for
their role to ensure the OA is completed within the allotted
time. A detailed schedule of events will be provided via email
after participants have been identified.
7. Interested participants should contact the 270′ WMEC SLEP
Sponsor’s Representative, LTJG Louie Wu, by 10 December 2021 via
email. Member must include a copy of their employee summary sheet
from CGBI in-board view as an attachment and desired mission area
from paragraph 4. Email must be forwarded from your unit CO or XO
to demonstrate command approval for participation. COMDT (CG-9322)
will issue travel orders to members selected to participate.
8. Point of contact: LTJG Louie Wu, COMDT (CG-751), 202-372-2360,
9. RDML Todd C Wiemers, Assistant Commandant for Capability
(CG-7), sends.
10. Internet release is authorized.

47 Foot MLB Service Life Extension Program

47-Foot Motor Life Boat (MLB) 47231 from Station Morrow Bay, 4 Dec 2007. Photo by Mike Baird

MarineLink reports on the Coast Guard’s service life extension program for the 47 foot motor life boats.

“In the summer of 2020, Birdon America delivered the first of the upgraded 47 MLBs which was accepted by the U.S. Coast Guard. It had passed or exceeded all the U.S. Coast Guard requirements under the contract. Birdon will now proceed with the service life extension of over 100 of these vessels built between 1997 and 2003. Work on the first boat was completed at the All-American Marine yard in Bellingham, Wash. Other west coast boats will follow. The 47 MLBs on the east coast will be upgraded at an east coast yard beginning in 2022…a pair of US-built, 6-cylinder, Cummins QSC8.3-M engines were chosen for the repower as part of the MLB Service Life Extension Program (SLEP). These EPA3-rated engines have four valves per cylinder and produce 530 BHP each at 2,600 RPM. They replace the original 435-hp Detroit 6V92TA mains. The new engines exceed the contracted requirements in terms of noise reduction and fuel economy.”

Thanks to Lee for bringing this to my attention.