The U.S. Coast Guard modified its contract with Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) April 2 to begin construction of the second Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) and to acquire long lead-time material (LLTM) for the third OPC. Contract delivery of the second OPC, to be named Chase, is scheduled to occur in 2023.
The total value of the construction and LLTM orders is $343 million. In addition to ordering construction of the second OPC, this contracting action also covers the initial order of components and materials necessary to support the future construction of the third OPC by acquiring propeller and steering components, marine diesel engines, the ship integrated control system, switchboards, and generators.
The lead OPC is currently in production at ESG’s shipyard in Panama City, Florida. Production of the lead cutter, Argus, commenced January 7, 2019. Delivery of Argus is scheduled for 2022.
Eastern’s President, Joey D’Isernia said: “Today represents not only the continuation of production for the USCG’s future replacement of their 210-ft and 270-ft class Medium Endurance Cutters, but also an important step in the continuing recovery of Northwest Florida and ESG post Hurricane Michael. Looking back on the condition of our shipyard and our community immediately post Hurricane Michael in comparison to how far we have come, I could not be more proud of our team for what we have accomplished to date. We are excited about the future of this program and will continue to work diligently with our vendor network from 29 other states to produce high quality, highly capable vessels for the men and women of the USCG.”
The OPC meets the service’s long-term need for cutters capable of deploying independently or as part of task groups and is essential to stopping smugglers at sea, interdicting undocumented migrants, rescuing mariners, enforcing fisheries laws, responding to disasters and protecting our ports. The acquisition of 25 OPCs will complement the capabilities of the Service’s National Security Cutters, Fast Response Cutters and Polar Security Cutters as an essential element of the Department of Homeland Security’s layered security strategy.