“Coast Guard Cutter Eagle to offer news media embark, public tours, during visit to New York City” –D1

U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle (WIX 327), arrives in New York City, N.Y., Aug. 15, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cory D. Payne)

Just passing this along.

Media Advisory U.S. Coast Guard 1st District

Coast Guard Cutter Eagle to offer news media embark, public tours, during visit to New York City

Due to limited space, media interested in attending the availability aboard the Eagle must RSVP with Daniel.L.Henry@USCG.mil no later than Wednesday\, Aug. 3, at 12 p.m. Government-issued identification and media credentials are required. Details on the specific embarking location will be available upon RSVP inquiry to Daniel.L.Henry@USCG.mil. Due to space constraints, media pooling may be required.

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

WHO: Coast Guard Cutter Eagle crew

WHAT: News media availability aboard the Eagle while anchored near Statue of Liberty.

WHEN: Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

NEW YORK — The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle, “America’s Tall Ship,” is scheduled to arrive in New York, Friday.

The Eagle will moor at Pier 86 in Manhattan, adjacent to the Intrepid Air & Space Museum Aug. 5-7, and will be open for free public tours.

Tours will be available the following date and times:

  • Friday (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Saturday (11a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Sunday (11a.m. to 6 p.m.)

Note: Tours for military and first responders (with valid I.D.) begin one hour prior to posted tour times on Saturday and Sunday.

At 295 feet in length, Eagle is the largest tall ship flying the stars and stripes and the only active square-rigger in United States government service. Eagle has served as a classroom at sea to future Coast Guard officers since 1946, offering an at-sea leadership and professional development experience as part of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy curriculum. This summer, Coast Guard Academy Cadets completed a transatlantic voyage and experienced port calls in Azores, Iceland, and Bermuda.

Eagle is a three-masted barque with more than 22,300 square feet of sail and 6 miles of rigging. The cutter was constructed in 1936 by the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. Originally commissioned as the Horst Wessel by the German navy, Eagle was a war reparation for the United States following World War II.

Additional information about the Eagle can be found here. The Eagle’s design dimensions can be found here.

For more information about Eagle, including port cities, tour schedules, and current events, follow the “United States Coast Guard Barque EAGLE” Facebook page or on Instagram @barqueeagle. All U.S. Coast Guard imagery is in the public domain and is encouraged to be shared widely.

“U.S. embarks on ‘new chapter’ with Pacific island nations” –Indo-Pacific Defense Forum

Indo-Pacific Defense Forum reports on promised new initiatives…the U.S. will:

  • Establish U.S. embassies in Kiribati and Tonga.
  • Ask the U.S. Congress to commit U.S. $60 million annually for the next 10 years for fisheries assistance. That’s almost triple the current U.S. funding for the South Pacific Tuna Treaty.
  • Appoint a U.S. envoy to the PIF, which White House officials view as the region’s preeminent leadership body.
  • Establish a U.S. strategy on the Pacific Islands, which will complement the nation’s Indo-Pacific Strategy released in February 2022.
  • Return Peace Corps volunteers to the Pacific islands.
  • Work toward reestablishing a Pacific mission of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Fiji.
  • Advance the Partners in the Blue Pacific, a multilateral bloc formed in 2022 and comprised of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the U.S., to promote Pacific interests internationally.

(Seems like France should also be a member of Partners in the Blue Pacific.)

The US Coast Guard will certainly have a role in executing these initiatives, including continued cooperation in countering Illegal, Unregulated, Unreported (IUU) fishing, capacity building, and assignment of Coast Guard attaches to facilitate cooperation.

A base in American Samoa is looking more likely all the time.

“Eastern Shipbuilding Protests US Coast Guard Award to Austal USA” –What’s Going On With Shipping Video

The commentator here, Salvatore Mercogliano, has a regular podcast. Usually he talks about the merchant marine, but he has chosen to take a look at the history of the Offshore Patrol Cutter program and the two shipyards that have been contracted to build them. His views are well balanced and informative. It is a worthwhile 15 minutes. 

Thanks to Lee for bringing this to my attention. 

 

Contracts For “Continued Studies of a Large Unmanned Surface Vessel”

MetalCraft Marine 7 meter “The Watcher” Autonomous Surface Vessel (ASV)

I have to believe that the Navy’s efforts in Unmanned Surface Vessels will ultimately have a significant implact on the way the Coast Guard does its business, so a recent series of contract awards reported in “The US Department of Defense Daily Digest Bulletin, Contracts for July 29, 2022” is of interest. 


Marinette Marine Corp., Marinette, Wisconsin, is awarded a $10,212,620 firm-fixed-price modification to previously awarded contract N00024-20-C-6317 for continued studies of a large unmanned surface vessel. Work will be performed in Marinette, Wisconsin, and is expected to be completed by September 2024. Fiscal 2022 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $149,841 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Bollinger Shipyards Lockport LLC, Lockport, Louisiana, is awarded a $9,428,770 firm-fixed-price modification to previously awarded contract N00024-20-C-6316 for continued studies of a large unmanned surface vessel. This contract modification includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract modification to $13,958,770. Work will be performed in Lockport, Louisiana, and is expected to be completed by September 2024. If all options are exercised, work will continue through September 2024. Fiscal 2022 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $149,933 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Austal USA LLC, Mobile, Alabama, is awarded a $9,115,310 firm-fixed-price modification to previously awarded contract N00024-20-C-6315 for continued studies of a large unmanned surface vessel. This contract modification includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract modification to $13,285,309. Work will be performed in Mobile, Alabama, and is expected to be completed by September 2024. If all options are exercised, work will continue through September, 2024. Fiscal 2022 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $149,878 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Gibbs & Cox Inc., Arlington, Virginia, is awarded an $8,981,231 firm-fixed-price modification to previously awarded contract N00024-20-C-6318 for continued studies of a large unmanned surface vessel. This contract modification includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract modification to $15,071,231. Work will be performed in Arlington, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by September 2024. If all options are exercised, work will continue through September 2024. Fiscal 2022 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $149,899 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

SINKEX RIMPAC 2022

I really like to see the results of SINKEX. They let you see how effective weapons are. I love them because they support my long held contention, that the way Coast Guard Cutters are armed, can provide us absolutely no confidence, we can reliably, forcibly stop anything larger than small ships.

The nearest thing we have had to a Coast Guard SINKEX did not end well. A firehose, it seemed, was more capable of sinking this poorly maintained, unmanned, derelict small vessel than our 25mm gun.

So far there have been two SINKEX exercises in this year’s RIMPAC. The video above is a series of attacks on the former USS Denver (LPD-9).The second video, below, shows attacks on the former USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60), a ship about 10% smaller than the Coast Guard’s new cutters (NSC and OPC), that took place on July 12.

The Drive describes the attacks on the former USS Denver. She was a medium sized ship, displacing about 17,000 tons full load, not huge by any means, but larger than most ships used in SINKEX.

 During the exercise,  the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force fired Type 12 anti-ship missiles and the U.S. Army launched guided rockets from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) at the naval target from land. From the air, U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets assigned to Fighter Attack Squadron 41 shot a long-range anti-ship missile while U.S. Army AH-64 Apache helicopters shot air-to-ground Hellfire missiles, rockets, and 30mm guns.

From the sea, U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Chaffee (DDG 90) shot its Mark 45 five-inch gun. To top it all off, the U.S. Marine Corps joined in with F/A-18C/D Hornets assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 and Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7, who then fired an air-launched cruise missile, air-to-ground anti-radiation missiles, and Joint Direct Attack Munition guided bombs. Other weapons were likely used, but these were the ones disclosed by the Navy.

The smaller, 4100 ton, USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60), also did not go down easily. In addition to being hit by laser guided bombs and probably other weapons, she was hit by at least four anti-ship cruise missiles, two Harpoon from Canadian frigate Winnipeg, one from a P-8 maritime patrol aircraft, and a French-made Exocet Block 2 from Royal Malaysian Navy Kasturi-class frigate KD Lekir (F-26).

The two SINKEX were somewhat unique, in that they did not require a torpedo to finish sinking the ships, as has occured in almost every previous SINKEX.

It is true that the Coast Guard is more concerned about stopping ships than sinking them, but getting a mobility kill is very difficult. First the propulsion systems take up a relatively small part of the length of the ship and more importantly, most of it is below the waterline. Unless you can hole the engineroom hull below the waterline, forcibly  stopping a ship is almost impossible.  Killing steering is similarly difficult. If the target is shooting back, it gets much more difficult.

C-27 Maneuverability

The US Coast Guard now has fourteen C-27Js that were virtually new, but considered excess by the USAF. They fly out of Elizabeth City and Sacramento. This aircraft is not as well known as the C-130, but it does have some unique capabilities. If you happen to catch a ride in one, don’t expect your Coast Guard pilot to fly like this, but it is nice to know what it can do.

The Aviation Geek Club brings us the video above and talks about the aircraft.

A Coast Guard C-27J Spartan crew, assigned to Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, flies over San Francisco, California, during area of responsibility familiarization training, Monday, Feb. 6, 2018. The C-27Js are outfitted with weather radar and communications equipment capable of supporting transport and other Coast Guard missions. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Scott Handlin

Thanks to Dennis for bringing this to my attention. 

“Report to Congress on Coast Guard Cutter Procurement, Updated July 22, 2022″ –CRS

The Congressional Research Service has again updated their “Report to Congress on Coast Guard Cutter Procurement”. (This link will always take you to the most recent edition of the report.) My last post on this evolving document was in reference to an October, 19, 2021 update. I have reproduced the one page summary in full below.

This is not new information, but I thought it worth repeating:

Notional Construction Schedule and Resulting Ages of Ships Being Replaced

The posting for the RFP for the Stage 2 industry studies included an attached notional timeline for building the 25 OPCs. Under the timeline, OPCs 1 through 7 (i.e., OPCs 1-4, to be built by ESG, plus OPCs 5-7, which are the first three OPCs to be built by the winner of the Stage 2 competition) are to be built at a rate of one per year, with OPC-1 completing construction in FY2022 and OPC-7 completing construction in FY2028. The remaining 18 OPCs (i.e., OPCs 8 through 25) are to be built at a rate of two per year, with OPC-8 completing construction in FY2029 and OPC-25 completing construction in FY2038.

Using these dates—which are generally 10 months to about two years later than they would have been under the Coast Guard’s previous (i.e., pre-October 11, 2019) timeline for the OPC program37—the Coast Guard’s 14 Reliance-class 210-foot medium-endurance cutters would be replaced when they would be (if still in service) about 54 to 67 years old, and the Coast Guard’s 13 Famous-class 270-foot medium-endurance cutters would be replaced when they would be (if still in service) about 42 to 52 years old.

It would be gratifying is OPC#1 is in fact delivered in FY2022, which is less than ten weeks away.

The Congressional request for a new Fleet Mix Study still has not been answered. (pp 17-19) This may be tied up in DHS. I would note that the latest Navy Force Structure Study apparently bypassed DOD.

“The requirement in the bill was designed to have the report bypass the Office of the Secretary of Defense and go directly to Congress, several legislative sources have told USNI News. OSD took a more active role in crafting the Navy’s force structure under former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and senior leadership has continued to be involved in the force structure process.”

I would think that DHS should be allowed to comment on the next USCG Force Structure Study they should not be allowed to withhold it from Congress. The Fleet Mix Study was intended to report how effective in meeting the Coast Guard’s stutory missions various force levels would be. It does not advocate for any particular force level. A new Fleet Mix would probably be the best information available to make rational decisions about force levels.

Despite two additional FRCs (#65 & 66) being added and funded in the FY2022 budget. It seems uncertain if they will actually be built. (p. 20)

The question of building a twelth NSC is apparently still an open question, though I find it hard to believe that will happen, but building another would get us more new ships faster and it could be justified by reducing the OPC fleet from 25 to 24. (p. 20)

The impact of inflation is discussed on p. 21.

May 2022 Coast Guard Testimony

At a May 12, 2022, hearing before the Homeland Security subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on the Coast Guard’s proposed FY2023 budget, Coast Guard Commandant Karl Schultz testified (emphasis added)

“I appreciate the significant investments for surface, aviation, and shore maintenance included in the FY 2022 Appropriation; however, the desired impacts of these investments are greatly diminished by the historic inflation we experience today. In recent years, the Coast Guard has been hamstrung by increasing maintenance backlogs resulting in hundreds of lost patrol days for cutters and thousands of lost flight hours for aircraft. This means that cutters, boats, and aircraft are unable to deploy for planned operations, our people are unable to complete their mission, and our partners are left without full Coast Guard support. Rising inflation and supply chain issues continue to increase costs throughout the life cycle for our assets.

“For example, in the past year the price for steel to build our ships has increased 48%, fuel costs have increased 20% with an additional adjustment on the horizon, and the price for select critical parts to maintain our Medium Endurance Cutters have increased 37%. These increasing costs for operating and sustaining our fleet negatively impact our ability to perform our missions and our combined efforts to restore service readiness.”

Action on Appropriations FY2023 Procurement Funding Request

Since my October 19, 2022 commentary, the administration’s FY2023 budget has been published, and the House Appropriations Committee (HAC) has acted on the FY2023 DHS Appropriations Act (H.R. 8257) making a start on what will be the FY2023 appropriation (pp 25/26). Here is how we stand for each of the three cutter programs, figures in millions of dollars, rounded to nearest tenth.

  • NSC: Requested,   60.0; HAC, 147.0
  • OPC: Requested, 650.0; HAC, 650.0
  • FRC: Requested,   16.0; HAC, 131.0

National Security Cutter (NSC).—The Committee provides $147,000,000, which is $87,000,000 above the request, for the NSC program. This funding will support postdelivery activities to missionize and operationalize NSCs 10 and 11.

Fast Response Cutter (FRC).—The recommendation provides $131,000,000 for the FRC program, an increase of $115,000,000 above the request for FRCs funded in prior years to cover class-wide activities, including economic price adjustments related to the rise in material and labor costs and for post-delivery missionization costs.

So neither bump in funding, for the NSC or FRC, would provide addtional hulls.

Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022 (H.R. 6865) 

The report also notes House Action on the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022. This is what it says

House

Section 104(a) and (b) of H.R. 6865 as passed by the House on March 29, 2022, states SEC. 104.

AVAILABILITY OF AMOUNTS FOR ACQUISITION OF ADDITIONAL CUTTERS.

(a) In General.—Of the amounts authorized to be appropriated under—

(1) section 4902(2)(A)(i) of title 14, United States Code, as amended by section 101 of this title, for fiscal year 2022;

(A) $300,000,000 shall be authorized for the acquisition of a twelfth National Security Cutter; and

(B) $210,000,000 shall be authorized for the acquisition of 3 Fast Response Cutters; and

(2) section 4902(2)(A)(ii) of title 14, United States Code, as amended by section 101 of this title, for fiscal year 2023;

(A) $300,000,000 shall be authorized for the acquisition of a twelfth National Security Cutter; and

(B) $210,000,000 shall be authorized for the acquisition of 3 Fast Response Cutters.

(b) Treatment Of Acquired Cutter.—Any cutter acquired using amounts authorized under subsection (a) shall be in addition to the National Security Cutters and Fast Response Cutters approved under the existing acquisition baseline in the program of record for the National Security Cutter and Fast Response Cutter.

Section 212 states

SEC. 212. STUDY ON LAYDOWN OF COAST GUARD CUTTERS.

Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of Transportation, shall conduct a study on the laydown of Coast Guard Fast Response Cutters to assess Coast Guard mission readiness and to identify areas of need for asset coverage.

 

I have a hard time understanding why a Authorization Bill even exists particularly in regard to specifying amounts of money, since it provides not money. Nominally it provides guidance on spending, but the real guidance is in the appropriation.

This passed the House on March 29, but the Department of Homeland Security FY2022 appropriation, which included the Coast Guard budget, had been signed into law two weeks earlier, on March 15, 2022.

Anyway, the “Summary” is quoted below and it provides a good picture of where we are in the recapitalization process.


Summary

The Coast Guard’s program of record (POR), which dates to 2004, calls for procuring 8 National Security Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 64 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) as replacements for 90 aging Coast Guard high-endurance cutters, medium-endurance cutters, and patrol craft. The total of 64 FRCs includes 58 for domestic use and 6 for use by the Coast Guard in the Persian Gulf.

NSCs are the Coast Guard’s largest and most capable general-purpose cutters; they are replacing the Coast Guard’s 12 Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters. NSCs have an estimated average procurement cost of about $670 million per ship. Congress has fully funded the procurement of 11 NSCs—three more than the 8 in the Coast Guard’s POR—including the 10th and 11th in FY2018, which (like the 9th NSC) were not requested by the Coast Guard. In FY2020, Congress provided $100.5 million for procurement of long lead time materials (LLTM) for a 12th NSC, so as to preserve the option of procuring a 12th NSC while the Coast Guard evaluates its future needs. The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2023 budget requests $60.0 million in procurement funding for the NSC program. This request does not include further funding for a 12th NSC; it does include funding for closing out NSC procurement activities and transitioning to sustainment of in-service NSCs. Nine NSCs have entered service; the ninth was commissioned into service on March 19, 2021. The 10th is scheduled for delivery in 2023.

OPCs are to be less expensive and in some respects less capable than NSCs; they are intended to replace the Coast Guard’s 29 aged medium-endurance cutters. Coast Guard officials describe the OPC program and the Polar Security Cutter (PSC) program as the service’s highest acquisition priorities. (The PSC program is covered in another CRS report.) The Coast Guard’s FY2020 budget submission estimated the total acquisition cost of the 25 ships at $10.270 billion, or an average of about $411 million per ship. The first OPC was funded in FY2018. The first four OPCs are being built by Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) of Panama City, FL. The Coast Guard held a full and open competition for a new contract to build the next 11 OPCs (numbers 5 through 15). On June 30, 2022, the Coast Guard announced that it had awarded a fixed-price incentive (firm target) contract to Austal USA of Mobile, AL, to produce up to 11 offshore patrol cutters (OPCs). The initial award is valued at $208.3 million and supports detail design and procurement of LLTM for the fifth OPC, with options for production of up to 11 OPCs in total. The contract has a potential value of up to $3.33 billion if all options are exercised. The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2023 budget requests $650.0 million in procurement funding for the 5th OPC, LLTM for the 6th, and other program costs.

FRCs are considerably smaller and less expensive than OPCs; they are intended to replace the Coast Guard’s 49 aging Island-class patrol boats. The Coast Guard’s FY2020 budget submission estimated the total acquisition cost of the 58 cutters intended for domestic use at $3.748.1 billion, or an average of about $65 million per cutter. A total of 64 FRCs were funded through FY2021. The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2022 budget did not request funding for the procurement of additional FRCs. In acting on the Coast Guard’s proposed FY2022 budget, Congress added $130 million in FRC procurement funding for the construction of up to two additional FRCs and associated class-wide activities. If built, the two additional FRCs would be the 65th and 66th FRCs. As of July 12, 2022, 48 FRCs have been commissioned into service. The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2023 budget requests $16.0 million in procurement funding for the FRC program; this request does not include funding for any additional FRCs.

“Coast Guard Cutter Eagle to offer news media ride-along, public tours, during visit to Boston” –D1

The Coast Guard Cutter Eagle moored behind the USS Constitution July 22, 2011. The Eagle’s crew participated in several events in Boston during the port call. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Simpson.

Below is a First District news release. Had to share this, if only for the photo above that accompanied it.


Media Advisory

U.S. Coast Guard 1st District Northeast
Contact: 1st District Public Affairs
D1PublicAffairs@uscg.mil
1st District online newsroom

Coast Guard Cutter Eagle to offer news media ride-along, public tours, during visit to Boston

Due to limited space, media interested in riding along during the Eagle’s inbound transit to Boston must RSVP  D1PublicAffairs@uscg.mil no later than Thursday, July 28, at 4 p.m. Government-issued identification and media credentials are required. Media are asked to arrive at the Coast Guard Base Boston no later than 6:30 a.m. Friday. Due to space constraints, media pooling may be required.

WHO: Coast Guard Capt. Jessica Rozzi-Ochs, Eagle’s commanding officer, and first woman to command the ship, and Navy Cmdr. Billie Farrell, USS Constitution’s command officer, also the first woman to command the ship

WHAT: Media is invited to ride aboard Eagle as it arrives in Boston

WHEN: Friday, July 29, at 6:30 a.m.

WHERE: Coast Guard Base Boston, 427 Commercial Street, Boston, MA 02109

BOSTON — The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle, “America’s Tall Ship,” is scheduled to arrive in Boston, Friday.

News media members are invited to ride into port aboard the Eagle. Crewmembers will be available for interviews underway and once the cutter moors.

The Eagle will moor in Charlestown, behind the USS Constitution July 29-Aug.1, and will be open for free public tours.

Tours will be available the following date and times:

  • Friday (12 p.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Saturday (11a.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Sunday (11a.m. to 7 p.m.)

Note: Tours for military and first responders begin one hour prior to posted tour times on Saturday and Sunday.

At 295 feet in length, Eagle is the largest tall ship flying the stars and stripes and the only active square-rigger in United States government service. Eagle has served as a classroom at sea to future Coast Guard officers since 1946, offering an at-sea leadership and professional development experience as part of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy curriculum. This summer, Coast Guard Academy Cadets completed a transatlantic voyage and experienced port calls in Azores, Iceland, and Bermuda.

Eagle is a three-masted barque with more than 22,300 square feet of sail and 6 miles of rigging. The cutter was constructed in 1936 by the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. Originally commissioned as the Horst Wessel by the German navy, Eagle was a war reparation for the United States following World War II.

Additional information about the Eagle can be found here. The Eagle’s design dimensions can be found here.

For more information about Eagle, including port cities, tour schedules, and current events, follow the “United States Coast Guard Barque EAGLE” Facebook page or on Instagram @barqueeagle. All U.S. Coast Guard imagery is in the public domain and is encouraged to be shared widely.

-USCG-

“Coast Guard awards contract for C-130J missionization” –CG-9

Coast Guard C130J

This isn’t your father’s C-130.

Below is an announcement of a contract by the Acquisitions Directorate (CG-9).

Just take a moment to consider that the Coast Guard is spending an additional $24.5M on each brand new C-130J to increase their capability. These are not ASW aircraft, but they are serious maritime patrol aircraft with state of the art capability for maritime domain awareness.

Their unique capabilities need to be included in planning for any future major naval conflict.


Coast Guard awards contract for C-130J missionization

The Coast Guard awarded a contract to L-3 Communications Integrated Systems LP (L3Harris) July 12 for the missionization of up to six C-130J Super Hercules long range surveillance aircraft.

The firm fixed price contract is for the production, installation and delivery of the Minotaur Mission System Suite and a Block 8.1 upgrade for the 17th and 18th C-130J aircraft in the fleet. The contract also includes options for missionization of aircraft 19-22, which will have the Block 8.1 upgrade installed during baseline production at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. Potential total value of the contract is $147 million.

Work will be completed at L3Harris’ Waco, Texas, facility. Minotaur incorporates sensors, radar and command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment necessary to carry out Coast Guard missions and offers significant increases in processing speed and memory capacity.

The Block 8.1 upgrade adds new and advanced capabilities, including enhanced inter-communication system, enhanced approach and landing systems, expanded diagnostics, civil GPS and additional covert lighting.

The HC-130J carries out many Coast Guard missions, including search and rescue, drug and migrant interdiction, cargo and personnel transport and maritime stewardship. The aircraft is capable of serving as an on-scene command and control platform or as a surveillance platform with the means to detect, classify and identify objects and share that information with operational forces.

For more information: HC-130J Long Range Surveillance Aircraft Program page

“Eastern Shipbuilding protesting Austal’s cutter win, cites ‘unfair competitive advantage’” –Breaking Defense

Future US Coast Guard’s Heritage class cutter Argus (Picture source: Eastern Shipbuilding Group)

Breaking Defense reports,

WASHINGTON: Eastern Shipbuilding Group is formally protesting a Coast Guard shipbuilding contract potentially worth billions that was awarded late last month to Austal USA, in part due to what ESG claims was an “unfair competitive advantage and conflict” among other issues.

This may further delay this much delayed program. Can’t help but wonder if OPC #1, the future USCGC Argus, will be delivered before the end of FY2022 as it had been scheduled. If not, it is going to undermine Eastern’s case as to their own competence.

Thanks to Lee for bringing this to my attention.