Decommissioning the 110s

File:USCGC Mustang (WPB-1310).jpg

Photo: USAF photo, USCGC MUSTANG (WPB 1310), underway at Port Valdez, Alaska, while providing harbor security during Exercise NORTHERN EDGE 2002.

The Coast Guard recently commissioned its eighth Webber Class Fast Response Cutter, and it has accepted the ninth. Since these are replacements for the 110 foot Island class, we should not be surprised that Island class cutters are being decommissioned.

This is the first I have heard about since the decommissioning of the 123 conversions: USCGC Bainbridge Island (WPB-1343).

The FY2015 budget provides for decommissioning eight 110s.

The Coast Guard plans on 58 Webber class, so presumably they would want to retain enough 110s to provide a total of 58 larger patrol craft with the 110s filling in until replaced by the new ships. It does not look like this will happen. Since the decommissioning of eight Island class as a result of the failure of the 123 conversion, there have been 41 Island class WPBs. Adding the Webber class WPCs currently commissioned that gives the Coast Guard a total of 49 large patrol craft. It appears the total will not exceed 49 at any time in the foreseeable future.

If 110s are decommissioned at the same rate Webber class are built, the number may stabilize at 49. If on the other hand the Coast Guard is unable to keep these older vessels going, the total is likely to drop. If that happen, as little as I like the idea of multiple crews, perhaps it is time to look at multi-crewing the Webber Class. .

Damen to Build New Patrol Boats for Bahamas

MarineLog reports that Damen has secured a contract with the government of the Bahamas.

“It covers the acquisition of nine vessels for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and construction work for their naval bases plus additional dredging works to accomodate new long range patrol craft.”

The nine vessels are in three class. One, a “San Lander 5612,” is a small ro/ro much like the old LCUs, intended for disaster response. Four will be a version of Damen’s, Stan Patrol 4207, 42 meter patrol boats, which includes the Canadian patrol boats we discussed earlier, that are closely related to the Coast Guard’s own Fast Response Cutter.

What I found particularly interesting were the four smaller patrol boats with a Damen developed “axe bow” because they may give us a glimpse at the future replacement for the 87 foot “Marine Protecctor” class WPBs (27 meters long, 6 meter beam), which was also a Damen design. Its designation, SPa 3007, indicates it is 30 meters long and a 7 meter beam (98.4 ft long, 23 ft beam).

Unconventional Patrol Boat is reporting the third of a planned five SWATH (small waterplane-area twin-hull) patrol boats has been delivered by a shipyard in Riga. This is hardly new technology, the Coast Guard Yard built the 26.7 meter, 228 ton SWATH Kaimalino in 1973, but it is certainly an unconventional choice.

SWATH always seemed to have great potential, but has not found many advocates. I’m wondering what disadvantages they are aware of that are not obvious.