The U.S. Coast Guard has exercised a contract option, worth just over $222 million, for production of four more Sentinel-class fast response cutters (FRCs) and associated deliverables with Bollinger Shipyards of Lockport, Louisiana.
This option brings the total number of FRCs under contract with Bollinger to 60 and the total value of the contract to approximately $1.48 billion. The FRCs built under this option will be delivered beginning late-2023 into mid-2024.
The FRC contract was recently modified to increase the maximum number of cutters to 64 FRCs and total potential value to $1.74 billion if all options are exercised. The Coast Guard says this change was needed to maintain the domestic program of record of 58 FRCs while also providing for the replacement of six 110-foot patrol boats assigned to Patrol Forces Southwest Asia.
“It’s a great honor to have the confidence of the U.S. Coast Guard to continue the work we’re doing,” said Bollinger Shipyards President & CEO Ben Bordelon. “The FRC program is something we’re all proud of here in Louisiana. Delivering vessels on schedule and on budget to the Coast Guard during these challenging times shows the determination and resiliency of our workforce.”
All four FRCs will be built at Bollinger’s Lockport, La., shipyard. Three of the four would be home-ported in Alaska and the fourth in Boston, Mass.
“While Louisiana’s unemployment rate remains above historic averages, we’re proud that Bollinger continues to be an economic pillar and job creator in south Louisiana,” Bordelon added. “More than 600 of our 1,500-plus employees have important roles related to the FRC program. Without the support of the Coast Guard and Congress for the continuation of this critical program in FY21, the security of these jobs would be thrown into question.”
The FRC program has had a total economic impact of $1.2 billion since inception in material spending and directly supports 650 jobs in Southeast Louisiana. The program has indirectly created 1,690 new jobs from operations and capital investment and has an annual economic impact on GDP of $202 million, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) on the economic importance of the U.S. shipbuilding and repair Industry.
Bollinger sources over 271,000 different items for the FRC consisting of 282 million components and parts from 965 suppliers in 37 states.
In addition to the construction of the FRC, Bollinger is participating in industry studies for five Government programs, including the U.S. Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) program, the U.S. Navy’s Common Hull Auxiliary Multi-Mission Platform (CHAMP) program, the U.S. Navy’s Auxiliary General Ocean Surveillance (T-AGOS(X)) program, the U.S. Navy’s Large Unmanned Surface Vehicle (LUSV) program and the U.S. Navy’s Light Amphibious Warship (LAW) program.
FRCs have a maximum speed of over 28 knots, a range of 2,500 nautical miles and an endurance of five days. The ships are designed for multiple missions, including drug and migrant interdiction; ports, waterways and coastal security; fishery patrols; search and rescue; and national defense. They feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; over-the-horizon cutter boat deployment to reach vessels of interest; and improved habitability and seakeeping.