The U.S. Coast Guard has awarded Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) a $325.06 million contract modification to begin construction of the fourth Heritage Class offshore patrol cutter (OPC), the future USCGC Rush (WMSM 918).
The first three OPCs are currently in production at ESG’s shipyard in Panama City, Fla.
“This follow-on award signifies the OPC team and our partners continue to provide quality craftsmanship and unparalleled service,” said Joey D’Isernia, president of Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. “We have a focused vision to support the OPC program with shipbuilding excellence and provide the country with a long-term industrial capability that can produce exceptional vessels that support national security interests.”
ESG says that as prime contractor, it has successfully achieved program goals and mitigated the impacts of COVID-19 and current supply chain challenges. It expects to christen the first vessel this year, is nearly halfway through completion of the second vessel, and will host the keel authentication of the third OPC in a few weeks. The pace of production accelerates with each vessel that comes online.
“We utilized state of the market technology, design, and construction methodologies to offer a more capable vessel than legacy assets currently in service,” said D’Isernia. “The innovations built into the OPCs were designed for sustainability and endurance and come from the ingenuity of the best engineers and manufacturers in the world. We thank the hundreds of partners and employees in the thirty-four states supporting us in this effort.” continued D’Isernia.
Construction is taking place at ESG’s Nelson Street Shipyard in Panama City, Fla., a facility that is optimized for multi-hull construction of the offshore patrol cutter and dedicated to supporting the U.S. Coast Guard.
ESG survived the third largest U.S. hurricane in 2018 and has fully rebuilt its operational facilities. The company made many infrastructure investments from $50 million in state appropriations and economic development grants that benefit the OPC project with enhanced manufacturing capabilities and efficiencies that reduce cost and schedule risk. These infrastructure investments include an aluminum fabrication facility specifically designed to support full construction of the OPC aluminum superstructure in a covered and controlled environment. ESG has also completed launch way upgrades, upland bulkhead upgrades, construction platen expansions, and waterway deepening projects to further enhance ESG’s capability to launch and deliver two OPC sized vessels per year.
At its Allanton Shipyard, ESG has constructed a state-of-the-art C5ISR Production Facility to conduct testing and integration of navigation, communication, and command and control, equipment, and simulators on premises prior to final installation on the vessel.
The OPC is based on the Vard Marine Inc. VARD 7 110 offshore patrol vessel design. Vard has supported ESG on the OPC program for the past 11 years, beginning with concept design, continuing through preliminary and contract design phases to detail design and construction, awarded in late 2016. It continues to provide engineering support to ESG during construction of the first three OPCs and will continue to do so with Hull 4.
“Vard Marine is proud to be part of the ESG Team and this OPC Program,“ said Darren Truelock, vice president, Houston, Vard Marine. “Through the OPC, our team is committed to enabling and expanding the Coast Guard’s capabilities to conduct offshore missions safely and effectively.”