“Media Advisory: First New England-based Fast Response Cutter to arrive in Boston” –D1/Six FRCs Coming to Boston

The 50th fast response cutter, William Chadwick, was delivered to the Coast Guard Aug. 4 2022, in Key West, Florida. It will be homeported in Boston. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

A news release from First District. The big news here is that there will be six FRCs assigned to Boston. Wikipedia had already identified five as going to Boston. (Incidentally the photo in the news release is not of USCGC William Chadwick, it is USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) arriving in Port Moresby.)

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 1st District Northeast

Media Advisory: First New England-based Fast Response Cutter to arrive in Boston

U.S Coast Guard conducts port visit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Editors note: Media interested in attending the ship’s arrival are requested to RSVP with d1publicaffairs@uscg.mil no later than 4 p.m. Wednesday.

BOSTON — Coast Guard Cutter William Chadwick (WPC-1150) is scheduled to arrive Thursday following a transit from Key West, Fla. The newly-built William Chadwick was accepted by the Coast Guard on August 4, and will be the first of six Fast Response Cutters homeported in Boston.

The cutter’s arrival will include a water salute from the Boston Fire Department and air escort by an Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., MH-60 Jayhawk crew. Crew families, and Coast Guard personnel will be providing a pier side welcoming party for their arrival.

WHO: Lt. Cmdr. Tyler Kelley, commanding officer of the William Chadwick, along with the ship’s crew.

WHAT: Arrival of USCGC William Chadwick to Boston

WHEN: Thursday September 29, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. Media are requested to arrive by 12:30 p.m. to clear security and be escorted to the pier

WHERE: Coast Guard Base Boston, 427 Commercial St., Boston, MA 02109

The Sentinel-class fast response cutter (FRC) is designed for multiple missions, including drug and migrant interdiction; ports, waterways and coastal security; fishery patrols; search and rescue; and national defense. The Coast Guard has ordered 65 FRCs to replace the 1980s-era Island-class 110-foot patrol boats. The FRCs feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; over the horizon cutter boat deployment to reach vessels of interest; and improved habitability and seakeeping.

The ship’s commissioning ceremony will be held November 10, 2022 at Base Boston.

Born in Dover, New Jersey, the cutter’s namesake was a keeper of the Green Island Lifeboat Station in New Jersey and recipient of the Congressional Gold Lifesaving Medal for his rescue of the crew of the schooner George Taulane on Feb. 3, 1880. Chadwick remained keeper of Green Island Station until his retirement in August 1886.

“U.S. Coast Guard arrives for planned port visit in Cairns, Australia” –Adventures in Paradise with the Webber Class

The Sentinel-class fast response cutter USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) arrive in Cairns for engagements with Australian Defence and Home Affairs partners and local representatives, Aug. 31, 2022. The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a routine deployment in Oceania as part of Operation Blue Pacific, working alongside Allies, building maritime domain awareness, and sharing best practices with partner nation navies and coast guards. Op Blue Pacific is an overarching multi-mission U.S. Coast Guard endeavor promoting security, safety, sovereignty, and economic prosperity in Oceania while strengthening relationships with our regional partners. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy USCGC Oliver Henry)

The six Hawaii and Guam based Webber class Fast Response Cutters do seem to get around. USCGC Oliver Henry made it to North Eastern Australia, mooring at Her Majesty’s Australian Station Cairns, which is home to some Australian Navy patrol, hydrographic, and survey vessels. Cairns looks like a delightful little city (population in June 2019 was 153,951). Not bad after no one tossed out the welcome mat in the Solomon Islands. The crew is going to have a lot of sea stories.

Cairns is a bit over 1800 nautical miles South of Oliver Henry’s homeport in Guam.

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia / Sector Guam

U.S. Coast Guard arrives for planned port visit in Cairns, Australia

The Oliver Henry is the first U.S. Coast Guard fast response cutter ever to fly the Australian ensign.  The Sentinel-class fast response cutter USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) command stand for a photo with Cmdr. Alfonso Santos, commander of HMAS Cairns, and Capt. Toby Reid, U.S. Coast Guard representative to the defense attache office of the U.S. Embassy in Australia,
USCGC Oliver Henry meets with Cairns regional Council and mayor The Sentinel-class fast response cutter USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) arrive in Cairns for engagements with Australian Defence and Home Affairs partners and local representatives, Aug. 31, 2022

Editor’s Note: Click on the images above to view or download more.

CAIRNS, Australia — The Sentinel-class fast response cutter USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) crew arrived in Cairns for engagements with Australian Defence and Home Affairs partners and local representatives, Aug. 31.

“A cutter arrival to Australia is another first, not only for U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia but also our fast response cutter fleet and is a reminder of our Service’s commitment to our partners and our enduring presence in the region,” said Capt. Nick Simmons, commander U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam. “The ship driver in me was envious when Lt. Hofschneider reported ‘OH transiting southbound along Inner Great Barrier Reef Passage enroute to Cairns. No issues or concerns.’ Not the kind of thing many Coast Guard members have ever written or said.”

Before arrival in port, Oliver Henry’s crew operated at sea with aerial support from the Australian Border Forces in the Torres Strait. While in port, the two nations will continue to build on the relationship forged at sea. Upon arrival, the crew was greeted by representatives from the Royal Australian Navy HMAS Cairns and the U.S. embassy. They were also guests of the Cairns Regional Council.

“It is an honor for Oliver Henry and her crew to visit and host our Australian friends,” said Lt. Freddy Hofschneider, the Oliver Henry commanding officer. “The U.S. and Australia have been standing side-by-side for more than 100 years. This is more than a partnership, it is mateship. The U.S. Coast Guard looks forward to more opportunities where we can work with the Australian Border Force, Royal Australian Navy, and other Australian partners to advance the rule of law at sea.”

During their stop in Cairns, members of Oliver Henry anticipate engagements with local officials and the community while also experiencing local culture.

The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a routine deployment in Oceania as part of Operation Blue Pacific, working alongside Allies, building maritime domain awareness, and sharing best practices with partner nation navies and coast guards. Op Blue Pacific is an overarching multi-mission U.S. Coast Guard endeavor promoting security, safety, sovereignty, and economic prosperity in Oceania while strengthening relationships with our regional partners.

The Oliver Henry is the 40th Sentinel-class fast response cutter. The ship was commissioned along with its sister ships, Myrtle Hazard and Frederick Hatch, in Guam in July 2021. In the time since, the crew has participated in several search and rescue cases, completed a counternarcotics patrol off Guam with the Japan Coast Guard, and conducted sovereignty and fisheries patrols in the Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam area of responsibility.

For more U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam news, visit us on DVIDS or subscribe! You can also visit us on Facebook at @USCGForcesMicronesia.

For more U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam news, visit us on DVIDS or subscribe! You can also visit us on Facebook at @USCGSectorGuam.

PATFORSWA Now Has Six Webber Class

220822-A-KS490-1182 STRAIT OF HORMUZ (Aug. 22, 2022) From the left, U.S. Coast Guard fast response cutters USCGC Glen Harris (WPC 1144), USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC 1146), USCGC Emlen Tunnell (WPC 1145) and USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC 1147) transit the Strait of Hormuz, Aug. 22. The cutters are forward-deployed to U.S. 5th Fleet to help ensure maritime security and stability across the Middle East. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Noah Martin)

The planned six Webber Class contingent for PATFORSWA is now complete. See the press release below.


08.23.2022

Story by NAVCENT Public Affairs   

U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet

MANAMA, Bahrain – Two U.S. Coast Guard fast response cutters arrived in Bahrain, Aug. 23, marking the arrival to their ultimate destination after departing Key West, Florida in June.

USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC 1146) and USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC 1147) are two of the Coast Guard’s six newest Sentinel-class fast response cutters (FRC) now stationed in Bahrain where U.S. 5th Fleet is headquartered.

“This arrival represents the culmination of years of tireless effort and exceptional teamwork,” said Capt. Eric Helgen, commander of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA). “These newest FRCs bring us to our full complement of six ships and mark the beginning of a new era of extraordinary maritime capability supporting U.S. 5th Fleet.”

The Sentinel-class cutters in Bahrain are overseen by PATFORSWA, the Coast Guard’s largest unit outside of the United States. The ships are forward-deployed to U.S. 5th Fleet to help ensure maritime security and stability across the Middle East.

“We are extremely excited to be here and look forward continuing to work with international partners in the region,” said Lt. David Anderson, commanding officer of Clarence Sutphin Jr. “Completing this more than 10,000-nautical-mile transit to Bahrain has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

John Scheuerman and Clarence Sutphin Jr. were commissioned in February and April 2022 respectively. The 154-foot long vessels feature advanced communications systems and improved surveillance and reconnaissance equipment.

“U.S. Coast Guard participating in Operation Island Chief, Operation Blue Pacific 2022” –News Release

The USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) crew arrives in Manus, Papua New Guinea, on Aug. 14, 2022, from Guam as part of a patrol headed south to assist partner nations in upholding and asserting their sovereignty while protecting U.S. national interests. The U.S. Coast Guard is participating with partners to support the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency-led Operation Island Chief and the larger Operation Blue Pacific through patrols in the Western Pacific in August and September 2022. The other two patrol boats are Australian built Guardian class. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by USCGC Oliver Henry)

Just passing along this news release from U. S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam.


U.S. Coast Guard participating in Operation Island Chief, Operation Blue Pacific 2022

 The USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) gets underway on Aug. 8, 2022, from Guam for a patrol headed south to assist partner nations in upholding and asserting their sovereignty while protecting U.S. national interests.  The USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) crew, including ship riders from Papua New Guinea, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Navy, take a moment for a photo aboard the ship off Manus, Papua New Guinea, Aug. 14, 2022.

Editor’s Note: Click on the images above to view more images and b-roll video
or download high-resolution versions.

MANUS, Papua New Guinea — The U.S. Coast Guard is participating with partners to support the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency-led Operation Island Chief and the larger Operation Blue Pacific through patrols in the Western Pacific in August and September 2022.

“Employing our unique authorities, capabilities, and access within Oceania is a privilege. We are eager to further integrate with our Allies and regional partners to protect national interests and combat illicit maritime activity such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing,” said Capt. Nick Simmons, U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam commander. “Strengthening governance and modeling professional maritime behavior on the high seas and the surrounding waters is one way to counter predatory activity and reinforce the Pacific as a positive center of gravity and sustainable economy.”

The operation covers a substantial area of the Pacific on the high seas and the exclusive economic zones of the Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and the Solomon Islands, while renewing relationships bolstered by local knowledge and expertise.

The USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140), a 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter, and crew deployed from Guam are making their first port call of the patrol in Manus, Papua New Guinea. During the patrol, the cutter will also have aerial support from a forward deployed HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and New Zealand Defence Force P3 Orion airplane crew. Where possible, the crew will also conduct subject matter expert exchanges and engagements.

Operation Island Chief is one of four operations conducted annually under FFA. It includes the Pacific waters of 11 participating FFA member nations – Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

“The Oliver Henry crew are committed to regional collaboration and sharing best practices to strengthen our relationships and information sharing,” said Lt. Freddy Hofschneider, commanding officer of Oliver Henry. “The U.S. Coast Guard has been a dedicated partner in the region for decades. We appreciate the support of our colleagues as we take this ship across vast distances in this region, making some transits and port calls for the first time.”

A significant emphasis of the operation for the U.S. Coast Guard is the ongoing emphasis on fisheries and resource protection.

“The Pacific Ocean is home to some of the world’s most abundant fisheries,” said Simmons. “These fisheries are living marine resources, part of the global food chain, representing food security and an economic engine for many of the Pacific Island Nations. By leveraging our cutters, aircraft, and intelligence professionals, the U.S. Coast Guard continues our strong partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency and its members to protect this vital marine ecosystem and ensure continued economic prosperity and a thriving ocean for future generations.”

According to FFA, partners are seeing increasing success through multilateral operations in the Pacific to tackle IUUF. These operations evolved from a focus on protecting against illegal boats entering the fisheries to policing the operations of licensed vessels that haven’t followed the rules and regulations governing their activities. The Pacific region is a vast expanse, and collaboration across the many partners, providing personnel and assets, is crucial to ongoing success.

The Oliver Henry is the 40th Sentinel-class fast response cutter. The ship arrived in Guam and was commissioned along with its sister ships, Myrtle Hazard and Frederick Hatch, in July 2021. In the time since, the crew has participated in several search and rescues cases, completed a counternarcotics patrol off Guam with the Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel Mizuho, and conducted sovereignty and fisheries patrols in the Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam area of responsibility.

For more U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam news, visit us on DVIDS or subscribe! You can also visit us on Facebook at @USCGSectorGuam.

-USCG-

Late Addition:The Sentinel-class fast response cutter USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) crew arrives in Port Moresby for a port visit on Aug. 23, 2022, following a patrol in parts of the Coral Sea, and the Solomon Islands and PNG Exclusive Economic Zones. The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a routine deployment in Oceania as part of Operation Blue Pacific, working alongside Allies, building maritime domain awareness, and sharing best practices with partner nation navies and coast guards. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by USCGC Oliver Henry)

“Coast Guard exercises contract option to build one fast response cutter” –CG-9

CGC BENJAMIN DAILEY, the first FRC stationed in Gulf of Mexico, conducts flight operations with a HH-65 from Air Station New Orleans. Photo by Bigshipdriver

The Acquistions Directorate (CG-9) reports exercise of a contract option to purchace one additional Webber class cutter. I had been under the impression money was in the FY2022 budget for two more.

On December 10, 2021, USCGC Benjamin Dailey (WPC-1123) was heavily damaged during a fire while in drydock in Tampa, FL. I have not heard if she had been repaired. This might be a replacement. Readers’ updates would be appreciated.

I think we still need additional cutters if we are going to open a base in American Samoa. 


Coast Guard exercises contract option to build one fast response cutter

The Coast Guard exercised a contract option Aug. 9 for production of one Sentinel-class fast response cutter (FRC) and associated deliverables valued at $55.5 million with Bollinger Shipyards of Lockport, Louisiana.

This option brings the total number of FRCs under contract with Bollinger to 65 and the total value of the Phase 2 contract to approximately $1.8 billion. The FRC built under this option will be delivered in 2025.

To date, 50 FRCs have been delivered, with 48 FRCs in operational service, operating out of 13 homeports.

FRCs have a maximum speed of over 28 knots, a range of 2,500 nautical miles, and an endurance of five days. The ships are designed for multiple missions, including drug and undocumented individuals interdiction; ports, waterways and coastal security; living marine resource protection and enforcement; search and rescue; and national defense. They feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; over-the-horizon cutter boat deployment to reach vessels of interest; and improved habitability and seakeeping.

For more information: Fast Response Cutter Program page

What Ever Happened to the “Six Bitters?”

Port side view of USS Cumberland as a receiving ship, US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, 1938 with former USCG 75 foot patrol boats in the foreground.

Just a small footnote in Coast Guard histroy I stumbled across. Apparently, 51 Coast Guard prohibition era 75 foot “six bitter” patrol boats were sold to the Navy in 1933/34 and at least a few of them ended up at the Naval Academy as training ships for midshipmen.

The link above “U.S.C.G. Patrol Craft Built before WWII (Six-Bitters, WPC, WSC)” “…lists the 317 patrol craft built or acquired by the U.S. Coast Guard from its organization in 1915 through the start of WWII.” I have added the link to my Heritage page.

“USCG Report: Small Cutters Prove They Can Patrol a Big Ocean” –Marine Link

We have noted before, that the Coast Guard is using Webber class WPCs more like Medium Endurance Cutters than like “Fast Response Cutters” here, here, and here. No where have their capabilities been pushed harder than in the 14th District in the Central and Western Pacific.

Increased illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in US and neighboring island EEZs, US obligations under the Compact of Free Association, and desire to avoid the destruction of fisheries resources essential to the properity of the region has resulted in a need to push these little ships into remote areas of the Pacific.

Marine Link has a report about the use of Webber class FRCs for long distance patrols in the Western Pacific. This is a particularly good report in that it records not only the successes, but also the limitations that worry the crews on these demanding deployments.

Food and Fuel are major concerns

The nominal range for the Webber class WPCs is 2500 nautical miles (nmi) at 14 knots. Attempting to stretch that range requires some compromises. Fuel margins have proven adequate, but they are thin and running engines at their most economical speed takes a toll. The need to minimize fuel consumption to make the great distancces requires running the engines at low RPM,

Sabatini said that the lower speed poses some other problems for the engines. “The diesels are really designed to operate at higher RPMs. When we were going for a week to ten days at a relatively slow speed, the carbon isn’t getting blown out. So, I was worried about that build up, and concerned about replacing injectors at a high rate than normal.”

It also means that almost any diversion, weather avoidance, or even adverse weather will cut into that margin.

The nominal endurance is five days. As built there is simply not enough storage space for food.

“We had extra freezers and reefers on the bridge and out of the mezzanine deck.”

I presume the mezzanine deck is the clear area between the bridge and the Mk38 gun mount that is marked for vertical replenishment. When I got to tour the Bailey Barco (WPC-1122) while it was enroute to Alaska, there was a lot of gear stowed on deck in that area. Apparently that worked, but I can imagine situations where the seas might wash some gear stowed there over the side.

I have also heard that the on-board laundery facilities are inadequate for prolonged patrols.

So far, most of these long Webber class deployments seem to have been accompanied by a larger cutter, but I got the impression from the post that that may be changing since the Webber class have proven their ability to make the voyages unsupported.

Medical Facilities

The lack of any onboard medical assistance is also worrysome. The report notes this as a danger to the crewmembers, but it also means the ship is not well equipped to provide medical assistance if required in a SAR case. The possible distance from shoreside medical facilities may also mean they would have to maintain a 10 knot economical speed rather than being able to go to speed to the nearest shore facility.

The Future

That the Webber class have proven capable of doing these missions comes as a pleasant surprise because they would not normally be our first choice for covering these great distances. What might we do to make these missions less challenging?

We might base some of the OPCs in the Hawaii or Guam. This may be possible specifically because the Webber class have proven capable of performing missions previously handled by Atlantic Area WMECs. That is probably desirable in the long term, but there is a more immediate solution. Base two, or preferably three, Webber class in American Samoa.

A base in Pago Pago, American Samoa would make unneccessary any routine transits longer than the nominal five day endurance and more than 2000 nmi that are now required to reach parts of the US EEZ and Western Pacific Island nations. A base in Pago Pago would put these ships within less than five days and less than 1500 nmi of Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tahiti, Fiji, Vanuatu (1260 nmi), Tarawa (1373 nmi) and New Caladonia (1416 nmi).

“Coast Guard accepts delivery of 49th Fast Response Cutter Douglas Denman” –D17 Press Release

The Coast Guard accepts delivery of 49th Fast Response Cutter Douglas Denman, in Key West, Florida, May 26, 2022. The cutter will be homeported in Ketchikan, Alaska. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Below is a press release reporting the acceptance of the 49th Webber class Fast Response Cutter. (There is an error in that this is reported to be the “24th Fast Response Cutter built by Bollinger Shipyards” while all 49 have been built by Bollinger)

This will be the third FRC based in Ketchikan. Normally I would simply add this news as a comment on a previous post, but there is news here that I had not picked up on previously.

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2022, which included a $130 million increase for two additional FRCs, continuing the program beyond its 64-vessel program of record. This is the second time Congress has added FRCs beyond the original 58 vessel program of record.

Bollinger typically delivers five FRCs a year, so we can expect the 17 additional FRCs to be delivered for over the next three and a half years.

The additional cutters now make it almost certain we will see FRCs based in America Samoa. Additionally we may see them in a second additional new Western Pacific base.

Photo Release

U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Alaska

Coast Guard accepts delivery of 49th Fast Response Cutter Douglas Denman

The Coast Guard accepts delivery of 49th Fast Response Cutter Douglas Denman, in Key West, Florida, May 26, 2022. The cutter will be homeported in Ketchikan, Alaska. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The Coast Guard accepts delivery of the 49th Fast Response Cutter Douglas Denman, in Key West, Florida, May 26, 2022, alongside the Denman family. The cutter will be homeported in Ketchikan, Alaska. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Editors’ Note: Click on images to download high resolution version.

 KEY WEST, Fla. — The Coast Guard accepted the Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Denman (WPC 1149), the 24th Fast Response Cutter built by Bollinger Shipyards, during a May 26 ceremony at Coast Guard Sector Key West.

“We were honored to have Douglas Denman’s son, Doug Jr. and daughter, Karen there for the momentous occasion,” said Lt. Paul Kang, commanding officer of the cutter. “In addition to that, two of Douglas Denman’s granddaughters drove down from Georgia with their families.”

The cutter, which is 154-feet long and has a crew complement of 24, will be homeported in Ketchikan, Alaska.

The Douglas Denman is scheduled for commissioning in September in Ketchikan. It is the third Fast Response Cutter to be stationed in the Coast Guard’s 17th Coast Guard District, which covers the state of Alaska and the North Pacific. The Denman will join the John McCormick (WPC 1121) and the Bailey Barco (WPC 1122), which arrived in Alaska in 2016 and 2017.

Born in Tallapoosa, Georgia, the cutter’s namesake joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1940 and was eventually assigned as a coxswain to the USS Colhoun (DD-85), a Wickes-class destroyer in the U.S. Navy during World War I and later re-designated APD-2 in World War II. On Aug. 30, 1942, the Colhoun was positioned off the coast of Guadalcanal when it was attacked by hostile aircraft. Denman was seriously wounded during the attack but remained at his duty station. When the order was given to abandon ship, Denman and another crew member helped evacuate the crew and get life jackets to those already in the water. Because of Denman’s selfless actions, 100 of the 150 officers and staff survived the attack and sinking of Colhoun. Denman received the Silver Star and Purple Heart medals for his heroic efforts. He served for 20 years in the Coast Guard, retiring as a senior chief petty officer in 1961.

The Fast Response Cutter is replacing the aging Island-class 110-foot patrol boats and features advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance equipment, and an over-the-horizon cutter boat. The cutter features advanced seakeeping capabilities and can achieve more than 32 mph (28 knots). The cutter has an endurance of five days. The Coast Guard is in the middle of the FRC acquisition program.

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2022, which included a $130 million increase for two additional FRCs, continuing the program beyond its 64-vessel program of record. This is the second time Congress has added FRCs beyond the original 58 vessel program of record.

Douglas Denman is designed for multiple missions, including law enforcement, fisheries enforcement, waterways and coastal security, search and rescue, and national defense.

For more information about this cutter, please contact 17th District Public Affairs at D17-DG-PublicAffairs@uscg.mil or Douglas Denman’s executive officer at Alicen.T.Re@uscg.mil.

Coast Guard Lt. Paul Kang, commanding officer of Cutter Douglas Denman, accepts delivery of the 49th Fast Response Cutter Douglas Denman, in Key West, Florida, May 26, 2022. The cutter will be homeported in Ketchikan, Alaska. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

“ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY RETIRES PATROL BOAT MAITLAND” –Baird Maritime

HMAS Maitland conducts a passage exercise with USCGC Kimball during Operation Solania. Photo: Seaman Isaiah Appleton

Baird Maritime reports, the Australian Navy is retiring one of their Amidale class patrol boats, HMAS Maitland. The vessel is relatively young by USCG standards, having been commissioned in 2006. It seems the class was stressed by high tempo, long distance, alien migrant interdiction deployments. This is the third of the original 14 vessels of the class to be decommissioned. One was as a result of a fire in 2014. The second was decommissioned March 2021.

These vessels are to be replaced by a class of 12 much larger OPVs, but in the meantime, the Australian Navy is also procuring, in many ways similar, 190 foot Cape Class patrol boats. The decommissioning follows closely on the delivery of the first of these “evolved” Cape class.

“USCG’s Polar Security Cutters to Receive Mark 38 Mod 4 Guns” –Naval News

Naval News reports that the Polar Security Cutters will be armed with the new 30mm Mk38 Mod4 rather than the familiar 25mm Mk38 Mod2/3 which currently arms Webber class Fast Response Cutters.

There were a couple of additional pieces of information as well.

  • Other Coast Guard vessels will also get the Mod4.
  • There are no plans to replace existing 25mm mounts with the 30mm Mod4.

The answer on the Polar Security Cutters is probably definitive because it is still three years in the future. Presumably the Navy will use up the 25mm mounts they have already purchased before installing the Mod4. The Offshore Patrol Cutter program extends so far into the future, it is likely most of them will receive the 30mm.

I would argue, vessels for which the Mk38 is the primary armament, particularly if they have only one, should receive a higher priority for the more capable Mod4 since we know the 30mm is more effective than the 25mm, and these vessels have no more powerful alternative weapon they could employ. It appears the WMEC270 that are going through the service life extension program fall in this category.

As for upgrading existing installations, there is a strong case to be made for upgrading the PATFORSWA Webber class WPCs. The 30mm offers options that are not available for the 25mm including an airburst round that can be used against UAVs and a swimmer round that is particularly effective against swarming fast inshore attack craft, both significant threats in the Persian Gulf.

The post also refers to the possibility of mounting missiles on the mount. That possibility was discussed in more detail here. I would like to see all the 25mm guns replaced by the 30mm, but if the earlier Mk38 Mod2/3 mounts were modified to mount APKWS guided rockets or Hellfire and its successor, there would be less need for the larger caliber gun.