The Coast Guard has selected Eastern Shipbuilding to build its new Offshore Patrol Cutters and awarded the Florida shipbuilder a $110.3 million contract for the first hull and options for eight more, the service announced late Thursday.
Eastern beat out General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Bollinger Shipyards for the design and construction of the potential $2.38 billion program in the Coast Guard’s second round competition for what the service calls its, “highest investment priority.”
The first hull is estimated to deliver in 2021.
In 2014 the Coast Guard awarded $64 million in design contracts to Eastern, Bollinger and BIW for the competition to build the replacement for the service’s decades-old medium endurance cutters from a field of eight yards competing for the work.
The service has estimated the ships would cost about $421 million a hull for a total buy of 25 cutters.
The OPC will replace the service’s 210-foot and 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutters. It will feature increased range and endurance, powerful weapons, a larger flight deck, and improved command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) equipment. The OPC will accommodate aircraft and small boat operations in all weather,” read a May Congressional Research Service report on Coast Guard Procurement.
In the statement, Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft said, “whether combating transnational organized criminal networks off Central America or patrolling in the increasingly accessible Arctic, the Offshore Patrol Cutter will ensure our nation’s maritime security and economic interests are preserved for decades to come.”
The following is the Sept. 15, 2016 announcement from the Coast Guard.
US Coast Guard awards Phase II OPC contract
WASHINGTON — The Coast Guard awarded a contract to Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc., of Panama City, Florida, Thursday for the production of the lead Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) and up to eight follow-on cutters.
The total award was valued at $110.29 million. The contract has a potential value of $2.38 billion with options to produce nine cutters.
The OPC acquisition will replace the service’s aging fleet of medium endurance cutters, some that are in excess of 50 years old. Each OPC will feature a flight deck and advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment.
The OPC will provide a capability bridge between the National Security Cutter and the Fast Response Cutter, which operates closer to shore.
“The Offshore Patrol Cutter acquisition is the Coast Guard’s highest investment priority, and we are proud to announce this important milestone,” said Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Paul Zukunft. “The Offshore Patrol Cutter will replace our aging medium endurance cutters and provide the majority of offshore presence by the Coast Guard’s cutter fleet. Whether combating transnational organized criminal networks off Central America or patrolling in the increasingly accessible Arctic, the Offshore Patrol Cutter will ensure our Nation’s maritime security and economic interests are preserved for decades to come.”
The first OPC is expected to be delivered in fiscal year 2021; the service plans to build 25 OPCs.
The Coast Guard is currently evaluating home porting options.