Home » Aviation » Coast Guard Issues Draft RFP for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for National Security Cutters


Coast Guard Issues Draft RFP for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for National Security Cutters

USCGC Stratton off Annapolis, MD, Oct. 31, 2011. Stratton is the third Legend-class ships in the Coast Guard’s new line of technologically advanced cutters. DoD photo

The U.S. Coast Guard is considering fielding a small unmanned aerial vehicle on its Legend-class National Security Cutters, according to a draft request for proposal that was posted this week on FedBizOpps.

The goal is “to deliver an effective, low cost solution to address the NSC’s existing aerial surveillance coverage gap and to provide the NSC with a persistent, tactical airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability that can remain airborne for at least twelve hours per day,” the draft RfP reads.
“The sUAS will be used to extend the ‘eyes and ears’ of the NSC in support of surveillance, detection, classification, identification, and prosecution for all of the NSC’s missions in all of the NSC’s maritime operating areas.”

The draft calls for a vehicle with a threshold range of 40 nautical miles and an objective range of 100 nautical miles, a threshold endurance of 12 hours and an objective goal of 18 hours, and a cruising airspeed of at least 50 knots and a sprint speed of 70 knots.

The solicitation does not specify if the aircraft is required to be fixed- or rotary-wing but does make provisions for a launcher and recovery mechanism to be stored in the hangar bay and operated on the flight deck.

The Navy has used both the fixed-wing Boeing Institu ScanEagle – which requires a special launcher and recovery net – and the rotary-wing Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout from its surface combatants.

The Coast Guard has tested both platforms but each platform did not quite fit the needs for a service-specific UAV, according to a 2016 Navy Times report.

Currently, the Coast Guard can ask U.S. Customs and Border Patrol for UAV assistance with the agency’s General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper fleet.

  • What the USCG should have done a LONG time ago is talk to the US Navy on group buying some ScanEagles for UAV and the USCG should start hiring some UAV pilots with a College degree and make them warrant officer UAV pilots.

    • Steven H

      If you read the whole article, you would have seen that the CG tested the ScanEagles, and that they didn’t meet the specific needs of the service.

      • Uncle Mike

        They tested the -8B model. The -8C is very different and might be more suitable.

        • delta9991

          You’re talking about MQ-8 Fire Scouts while Steven was responding regarding Scan Eagles. They are two very different UAVs.

      • El_Sid

        ScanEagles have evolved since the 2012 test referred to in that article. The Mk2 has a heavy-fuel engine and greater payload at the expense of some endurance, and has new toys like ViDAR. The USCG signed a $4.5m deal for a ScanEagle last year and are testing it on WMSL-752.

    • Curtis Conway

      MQ-8 Fire Scout with long range tanks.

    • Secundius

      Great idea! ScanEagles can Loiter in the Sky for up to 19-hours…

      • The reason why the USCG wants a UAV, is because they can spy on drug runners and and spy on them so quietly that they won’t know they are being watched.

        • Secundius

          As I recall ScanEagles have a Service Ceiling of ~19,000-feet. At that altitude it would be Virtually Impossible to Hear from Sea-Level, even for a Dog…

          • Donald Carey

            There is a LOT that cannot be seen from 19,000 feet. Low and slow works much better.

          • Secundius

            I would think that “Anything” that can “Loiter” for up to 19-hours and weighs less that 50-pounds is considered “Slow”. Thought it’s capable of flying a 19,000-feet, most Aerial Missions are flown at ~1,600-feet…

  • old guy

    Makes my point that the two services should, long ago, been merged. It would save $$$$$$, Admirals, programs, relationships, increase commonality, sailor opportunity, liaison and effectiveness.
    A sorting of missions across service lines could be next. Why Navy and Marine fighters,?Air force and other service UAVs. et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

    • Donald Carey

      Like they would ever trim the brass at the top (fat chance), both services have had too many Chiefs and not enough Indians for decades.

      • old guy

        We are voices in the wind. We now have more admirals than ships (not counting RIBs),more Generals (Army) than Regiments, More generals (A/F) than squadrons and more congressmen than we can stomach. Ah, Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

      • Steven H

        During peacetime (or relative peace time), it makes more economic sense to be top heavy. That way, when the need arises, they can swell the ranks with junior positions, and have experienced leadership. It’s far easier to rapidly fill junior spots than senior ones.

      • old guy

        ORGANIZATIONS
        LITTLE FLEAS HAVE LESSER FLEAS UPON THEIR BACK, TO BITEM,’
        AND LESSER FLEAS, HAVE TINY FLEAS, AND SO, AD INFINITUM,
        NOW, THE LITTLE FLEAS HAVE LARGER FLEAS UPON WHOSE BACKS TO GO ON,
        AND THE LARGER FLEAS, HAVE BIGGER FLEAS, AND GREATER FLEAS, AND ………SO ON