SEPTEMBER 19, 2012 — Could the U.S. Coast Guard's next generation Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) have the characteristic Ulstein X-Bow? West Coast shipbuilding group Vigor Industrial is working to make that happen. It hopes to build the OPCs in its Portland Shipyard (the former Todd Pacific) to Ulstein SX151 design.
The Coast Guard plans to build up to 25 OPCs. They will replace the aging fleet of 210-foot and 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutters (WMECs), which are becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and operate and are, in many respects, says the Coast Guard, technologically obsolete.
According to the Coast Guard's Acquisition Directorate, the OPC Project is in the "Analyze/Select" phase of the acquisition process. The Coast Guard's OPC Mission Need Statement (MNS) and Concepts of Operation (CONOPS) have been developed and signed, and preparation of the Operational Requirements Document (ORD) has commenced.
"Several yards are currently sending their prospects to the Coast Guard. Towards the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015, the Coast Guard will award the contract," says Deputy CEO, Tore Ulstein, responsible for Market and Innovation in Ulstein Group.
"We have worked together with Vigor for two years, and have developed a concept we have great faith in," says Mr. Ulstein. "The ship is 100 m long and 16.4 m wide and has a top speed of 22 knots. A typical operating speed can vary from 5 to 22 knots, and the ship is therefore equipped with a combined diesel mechanic / diesel electric propulsion system. The ship accommodates 124 persons, is equipped with a helicopter deck and hangar, and a hangar for three rescue boats."
Vigor says the Ulstein OPC's seakeeping improves offshore mission effectiveness through higher sustained speed, expanded operating envelopes for boats and helicopters, greater endurance and reduced crew fatigue.
It says the seakeeping performance of the X-Bow has been quantified through extensive model tests and validated in the actual performance of nearly 40 offshore vessels.
Vigor says its OPC is inherently producible and affordable.
- Simple hull curvature throughout reduces fabrication cost.
- At 328 feet, VIGOR OPC minimizes the need for shore infrastructure improvements.
- Larger internal volume eases constructions and maintenance.
- All accommodations are above the main deck.
- Upgrading a commercial vessel design to meet the Coast Guard's technical requirements is the affordable alternative to a conventional corvette or frigate.
Vigor has put together a team of Coast Guard Subject Matter Experts which, it says, "has a proven track record of consistently delivering superior project management, technical support and workmanship. The team brings 360 years of combined Coast Guard experience to our OPC design. They serve as a proxy for the Coast Guard from concept design through delivery, and are dedicated to delivering the most capable, cost effective OPC."
In addition to Ulstein Design and Solutions, Vigor's teaming partners on the OPC project are:
The Band Lavis Division of CDI Marine,a leading supplier of design, analysis, engineering and logistics services to the Coast Guard.
DRS Power and Control Technologies as Propulsion System partner, responsible for selecting, integrating and optimally automating critical propulsion and electrical equipment to eliminate risk in these mission essential systems.
L-3 Communications as electronics system integrator, bringing together the government's command and control, weapons and other selected systems with L-3's proven shipboard communications suite and integrated bridge system.