New OPV for the Philippines

The Philippines has a requirement for six new ocean-going Offshore Patrol Vessels, and the Austal shipyard in the Philippines is making an offer.

Their design is 81.7 meters (268 feet) in length overall, with a beam of 13.3 meters (43.6 feet), and a draft of 4 meters (13.1 feet), so, similar in size to the Bear class cutters, with perhaps slightly greater displacement. The illustration shows a ship armed with a 76mm Oto Melara Super Rapid naval gun, and two auto-cannon. It has a helicopter landing deck but no hangar.

It is apparently equipped with a stern boat ramp and boat davit starboard.

There is no information on speed, but I would guess 20 to 22 knots on a pair of diesels.

Contracts for First OPC, Long Lead Time Items for OPC#2, and NSC#11

The Acquisitions Directorate has been busy. They report exercising a $317.5M contract option for construction of the first Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), USCGC Argus, and long lead time items (propeller and steering components, marine diesel engines, the ship integrated control system, switchboards, and generators), for the second OPC, USCGC Chase. Delivery of Argus is expected in 2021. 

They also report exercising an option for long lead time items for an as yet unnamed eleventh National Security Cutter (NSC).

“The option exercise is valued at approximately $97.1 million. This amount supports the initial order of long lead time components and material necessary to prepare for the construction of the new cutter, including steel plating, propulsion system, marine turbine/diesel engines, air search radar, ship integrated control system, switchboards and generators.”

NSC names

We currently have names for the first nine NSCs.

I am hoping we will name one for Commodore Frank H. Newcomb, who was CO of the Cutter Hudson at the Battle of Cardenas Bay. He really should have gotten the Metal of Honor. It would also give us a nice tie into the Navy since they had a heroic destroyer named for Newcomb. 

I also think Walsh would be a good choice. His Navy Cross citation.

WALSH, Quentin R., CDR, (Retired as Captain) USCG, Navy Cross, For heroism as Commanding Officer of a U.S. Naval party reconnoitering the naval facilities and naval arsenal at Cherbourg June 26 and 27, 1944. While in command of reconnaissance party, Commander Walsh entered the port of Cherbourg and penetrated the eastern half of the city, engaged in street fighting with the enemy. He accepted the surrender and disarmed 400 of the enemy force at the naval arsenal and later received unconditional surrender of 350 enemy troops and at the same time released 52 captured U.S. Army paratroopers.

Sub-Committee Hearing, Coast Guard Modernization and Recapitalization: Status and Future, 26 Sept. 2018

Note, the hearing does not actually begin until time 20:30 on the video above. 

The House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation conducted a hearing on “Coast Guard Modernization and Recapitalization: Status and Future” on September 26, 2018.

You can see the “Summary of Subject Matter” that was prepared for the Congressmen here.

This is the first hearing for both Representative Brian Mast (R-FL) as subcommittee chair and Admiral Karl L. Schultz as Commandant. What I saw looked promising.

The Commandant’s prepared remarks has some items of interest. 

The Commandant announced that he would soon issue a Coast Guard “Strategic Plan 2018-2022”

He referenced the new icebreakers as “Polar Security Cutters.”

This past March, we released a request for proposal (RFP), setting the stage for award of a Detail Design and Construction (DD&C) contract in FY 2019 for the construction of up to three heavy Polar icebreakers. We are as close as we have ever been to recapitalizing our Polar icebreaking fleet; continued investment now is vital to solidify our standing as an Arctic nation and affirms the Coast Guard’s role in providing assured, year-round access to the Polar regions for decades to come.

This seems to be a part of an effort to broaden the appeal of the icebreaker program as discussed in a recent USNI post, “Coast Guard Renames Icebreaker Program ‘Polar Security Cutter.'”. Their “…hull designation will be WMSP. W is the standard prefix for Coast Guard vessels, and MSP stands for Maritime Security-Polar, Brian Olexy, a Coast Guard spokesman, told USNI News.”

Apparently we are working toward a fleet of 64 Webber class WPCs rather than the 58 in the Program of Record. The first two additional to replace six Island class WPBs currently assigned to Patrol Force South West Asia have already been funded.

“…Earlier this summer, we exercised the second option under the Phase II contract to begin production of six more FRCs. The FY 2018 appropriation also included funding for two additional FRCs, beyond our domestic program of record of 58 hulls (emphasis applied–Chuck), to initiate the vital replacement of our six patrol boats supporting long-term U.S. Central Command missions in southwest Asia.”

Q&A. Topics discussed during the question and answer period included:

Civil Engineering/Shore infrastructure. $1.6B backlog.

40:00 possibility of a 12th NSC

42:30 Where is the $34M taken out of the FY2018 budget will be coming from–reprogramming within the Department.

44:30 Closures of the Potomac

54:00 Diversity within the service.

1:14:40 Need for larger Reserve Force

1:18:00 Icebreaker program

1:20:00 Waterways commerce cutters

In addition response to the recent Hurricanes seemed to be very much on the minds of Representatives and was referred to repeatedly.

76th Anniversary of the Death of Douglas Munro

By U.S. Coast Guard (Command) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today marks the 76th anniversary of SM1 Douglas Munro’s death while evacuating Marines from an ambush on Guadalcanal. Among the approximately 250 Marines rescued that day was Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller (June 26, 1898 – October 11, 1971), who having survived, became the most decorated Marine in US history.

Currently we are in the unusual position of having two ships named for this one man. WHEC-724, now renamed USCGC Douglas Munro commissioned on this day 47 years ago, and WMSL-755, USCGC Munro, a National Security Cutter commissioned in April 2017.

Interoperability Is a Core Coast Guard Strength–USNI

Coast Guard Lieutenant Junior Grade Shane Gunderson and Investigative Service agent Bobby Brisby deliver relief supplies to victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The USNI “Proceedings Today” has an article “Interoperability is a Core Coast Guard Strength,” that looks at the Coast Guard’s unique abilities to respond to natural disaster and offers some recommendations particularly in regard to improving the ability of the Coast Guard Reserve to respond. The author is LCdr. Eric Driggs, USCG (Reserve). He currently serves at the Coast Guard Reserve Unit at U.S. Southern Command in Miami, Florida.

Coast Guard to Mark 100th Anniversary of one of World War I’s largest U. S. naval combat losses”–Washington Post

Miami-class cutter USCGC Tampa photographed in harbour, prior to the First World War. Completed in 1912 as the U.S. Revenue Cutter Miami, this ship was renamed Tampa in February 1916. On 26 September 1918, while operating in the English Channel, she was torpedoed and sunk by the German Submarine UB-91. All 131 persons on board Tampa were lost with her, the largest loss of life on any U.S. combat vessel during the First World War. Official U.S. Navy photo NH 1226 from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

As we approach the 100th anniversary, the Washington Post has an excellent article recounting the loss of the Cutter Tampa and it effect on some of the families. Well worth the read.

EIGHT BELLS – A SEA SERVICE CELEBRATION ON 18 OCTOBER 2018–ALCOAST

National Security Cutters Waesche and Bertholf (far right) moored at Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Calif., next to 378-foot Coast Guard Cutters Morgenthau (far left), Sherman and Boutwell, July 22, 2010. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Melissa Leake.

I am passing along this ALCOAST for any in the sea going community that may have missed it. Some good information about the status of building programs. There is a essay/poem/chanty contest. See paragraph 4.a.

ALCOAST 326/18 – SEP 2018 EIGHT BELLS – A SEA SERVICE CELEBRATION ON 18 OCTOBER 2018

R 241155 SEP 18
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//CG-7//
TO ALCOAST
UNCLAS //N01710//
ALCOAST 326/18
COMDTNOTE 1710
SUBJ:  EIGHT BELLS – A SEA SERVICE CELEBRATION ON 18 OCTOBER 2018
1. The Coast Guard Office of Cutter Forces (CG-751), the Heart of the Service, is
sponsoring a Sea Service Celebration centered around 18 October 2018 that honors
the sacrifices of the men and women serving aboard Coast Guard cutters, and
highlights the hard work of the thousands of shoreside administrative, training,
and engineering personnel who enable our fleet to operate. On 18 October 1974,
the Office of Personnel promulgated the Coast Guard Cutterman Insignia program,
to “recognize the contributions and qualifications of our personnel.” Today the
Cutterman pin represents the personal fulfillment of the professional training
and sea service associated with a seagoing Coast Guard career. Additionally, there
are many serving who do not wear Cutterman pins yet make considerable contributions
to the cutter community, and the Sea Service celebration calls special attention
to their contributions as well.
2. Since 1790, professional mariners have manned the decks of our cutters and braved
the high seas, Great Lakes, and our inland waterways. This year, we celebrate more
than 228 years of our sea-going traditions, currently upheld by the nearly 8,000
active duty personnel aboard our 248 cutters. The theme of this year’s Celebration
is “Why I Go to Sea.” As nearly 20% of our active duty force serves afloat, it is
important that we recognize and celebrate those aspects of the arduous yet
incredibly rewarding profession that our mariners embrace.
3. These are exciting times to be a Cutterman – there is a great need for Coasties
who desire to crew our rapidly modernizing fleet. In funding new cutter
acquisitions, the FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill made the Coast Guard a $12
Billion organization for the first time in our history. The keel for STONE, the
9th National Security Cutter (NSC), is being laid this month, and we will be
constructing hulls #10 & #11. 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters are planned and production
on the ARGUS, hull #1, is funded with an anticipated delivery in FY 2021. 28 Fast
Response Cutters (FRC) are in commission out of the 58 planned for the domestic
program of record, with an additional 6 scheduled for commissioning in FY 2019 alone;
we are also preparing to transition FRCs to PATFORSWA. The Waterways Commerce
Cutter received funding for expedited development of plans for a replacement of
the WLIC/WLI/WLR cutters. Finally, the Polar Security Cutter is moving forward in
the acquisition process and will award the contract in FY 2019. These substantial
national investments are clear evidence of the great value American leadership
places in the hard work of our professional mariners and support personnel
fleetwide.
4. As part of this year’s Sea Service Celebration, COMDT (CG-751) encourages all
Cuttermen & operational commanders to participate in the following events:
a. One-page essay/poem/chanty contest: By 15 October 2018, our current, past
and aspiring future professional mariners are invited to submit a one-page essay,
poem, or chanty on the theme of “Why I Go to Sea.” Potential topics include, but
are not limited to, the missions, best sea stories, traditions, lore, history,
professional incentives, etc. Submissions will be judged on creativity and
ability to inspire Coasties to answer the call and stand the watch. Submissions
have no format requirement besides the page limit and must include the name of
the author, unless unit, department, or group name applies. Pictures are also
encouraged, and if included may take up an additional page. A suggested
essay/prose template is posted on the COMDT (CG-751) portal at:
https://cg.portal.uscg.mil/units/cg751/8%20Bells/Forms/AllItems.aspx.
Chain of command approved contest submissions should be sent via email to the
two POCs listed below. The top three winning entries will be posted on the COMDT
(CG-751) portal page and social media platforms, and shared with Surface Naval
Association Presidents, Rating Force Master Chiefs, and Operational Commanders
for distribution within the cutter community.
b. Cutter Public Affairs Officers (PAO) are encouraged to utilize their
Official Facebook pages to post CO/OIC-approved photos and media under the
hashtag #WhyIGoToSea throughout the year.
c. Local events: All commands are encouraged to host appropriate functions
that celebrate sea service traditions during the month of October, particularly
on 18 October. Suggestions include: local Cuttermen’s Calls, Dining-Ins, or cutter
round-ups with friendly competitions (DC Olympics, shiphandling challenge, etc.).
d. Cuttermen may join prose to a one to two minute video for possible posting
on District, Area, and HQ blogs and Facebook sites
(http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/official-sites/ or https://www.uscg.mil/home/).
Pictures and video can be submitted by using the Visual Information Management
System (VIMS) at: http://www.uscg.work/vims, choosing your local PA office, and the tag
#WhyIGoToSea. Also submit by 01 October 2018 at:
http://navysna.org/awards/komorowski-photo/ &
http://navysna.org/awards/video-competition.html for a concurrent SNA competition.
5. For more information, contact LT Paul Ledbetter at Paul.A.Ledbetter@uscg.mil and
LT Micah Howell at Micah.D.Howell@uscg.mil.
6. RDML Michael P. Ryan, Assistant Commandant for Capability, sends.
7. Internet release is authorized.