Home » Budget Industry » First in a Quartet of New Coast Guard Cutters Arrive in Los Angeles


First in a Quartet of New Coast Guard Cutters Arrive in Los Angeles

Coast Guard cutter Forrest Rednour (WPC-1129). US Coast Guard Photo

The Coast Guard’s fast response cutter Forrest Rednour (WPC-1129) arrived Saturday at its new California home, marking the first of four of the multi-mission cutters to be homeported at Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.

“We are excited and honored to bring the Forrest Rednour to her new homeport in San Pedro,” Lt. Graham Sherman, Forrest Rednour’s commanding officer, said in an 11th Coast Guard District news release. “We are absolutely humbled to bring this cutter to life and the Coast Guard could not have selected a better crew to honor Forrest Rednour. This crew will do a phenomenal job of serving the people of California by keeping the coasts, harbors and shipping channels safe and secure.”

The 154-foot Forrest Rednour will be commissioned into the service in the fall. It’s latest in the Sentinel-class of fast response cutters that are replacing the aging, 110-foot, Island-class patrol boats as part of the Coast Guard’s fleet modernization initiative.

The Coast Guard plans to homeport three more fast response cutters at the base, located on Terminal Island in San Pedro, and each will be commissioned into service by next summer. The cutters will operate throughout the 11th Coast Guard District, which covers California and the international waters off Mexico and Central America.

“This ship and the three other Fast Response Cutters bound for California will help strengthen our security and emergency response capabilities in the Pacific Southwest,” Rear Adm. Peter Gautier, who commands the 11th Coast Guard District. “Working with our partner agencies, we will continue to protect our global supply chain, disrupt the transnational criminal organizations that smuggle drugs and traffic humans into our nation, and keep our waterways safe and secure.”

The fast response cutters are designed for a range of missions, including drug and migrant interdictions; ports, waterways and coastal security operations; fisheries and environmental protection patrols; national defense missions; and search and rescue. So far, the Coast Guard has accepted delivery of 29 cutters, which are built by Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, La.

Each FRC, with a crew of 24, can operate at a range of 2,500 miles and can conduct patrols of up to five days, according to the Coast Guard. The cutters, which top speed of 28 knots, have advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment, improved habitability for crews and can deploy a response force for over-the-horizon missions. Its top speed of 28 knots enables the cutter to operate with other agencies as well as the Coast Guard’s national security cutters.

Each new cutter is named after a Coast Guard enlisted heroes. Rednour, a second-class petty officer, was serving on the USCGC Escanaba (WPG-77) in the north Atlantic on the night of Feb. 3, 1943, when the German submarine U-223 attacked a U.S. supply convoy, including the torpedoed chartered troop-transport ship Dorchester. The Cutler, Ill.-born Rednour joined in rescue efforts over four hours and is credited with helping rescue 145 people. According to the Navy and Marine Corps Medal he received for “heroic conduct” that day: “Despite possible enemy submarine action, Rednour risked his life in the black and icy waters to aid in the rescue of unconscious and helpless survivors. Realizing the danger of being crushed between the rafts and the ship’s side or of being struck by a propeller blade if the engines backed, he swam in under the counter of the constantly maneuvering Escanaba and prevented many floating survivors from being caught in the suction of the screws, in one instance retrieving a loading raft. Rednour’s gallant and voluntary action in subjecting himself to pounding seas and bitter cold for nearly four hours contributed to the rescue of 145 persons and his courageous disregard for his own personal safety in a situation of grave peril was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

Four months later, Rednour perished along with 100 of the 103-member crew when “an explosion of undetermined cause” sunk the ship, officials said at the time. Only two men survived the attack. They were found floating in the icy waters. Relatives of the two survivors in June marked the 75th anniversary of that fateful day at a ceremony in Michigan, home to Escanaba city.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    This, with the Legend & Heritage classes make a pretty impressive trio refreshing the coast guard fleet.

    • old guy

      All at ⅓ the cost of an LCS.

      • NR

        The Legend class cutters cost more than either version of the LCS. Besides that they were fitted out with defective electronics, hence the whistleblower case. The coast guard doesn’t do any better at procurement than the Navy. You could argue that they do considerably worse given the cluster that was the deepwater program.

        • PolicyWonk

          OTOH, with the Legend-class NSC, the USCG at least got some decent sea-frames that will be useful for a very long time.

          Quite unlike the monumental cluster-eff that is the LCS program.

          • Lazarus

            Let’s see; LCS has been produced in decent numbers under a Congressional cost cap for 5 plus years while each successive Legend class ship has increased in cost.

          • Lucas Shaver

            No, each NSC has decreased in cost. Look at the cost of the CGC Kimball vs the Bertholf…

          • PolicyWonk

            The Legend Class ships already have an enviable service record, and have proven to be tough as nails, while LCS has only earned the scorn of every auditing agency this nation has, delivering only minimal (if any) value.

        • Horn

          Considering almost all of these ships will go on to have 50+ year service lives I’d consider them great bargains. Yes, the NSC has had some problems but they’ve been rectified. They also only cost just over $100m more than an LCS. Take that into consideration when you realize that an NSC will last twice as long as an LCS can.

          • NR

            While I would like to agree with you that remains to be seen. The 8 modified Island class boats sitting in mothballs due to a failed 13 foot addition in length really highlights the procurement issues I am referring to. From what I have read the Legend class issues have NOT been rectified yet. The Coast Guard is still playing hot potato with the manufacturer to see who pays the bill for fixes.
            I still think the LSC program is a model for what not to do given the high cost and inefficiency of two wildly different sea frames.

          • Luke Shaver

            All major problems with the NSC have or will be fixed, things like hull, tempest, and combat system issues have been fixed for a while now, and the defective electrical equipment is going to be fixed, this was confirmed recently. The deepwater program wasn’t perfect, it was actually pretty bad, which is why it’s no longer a thing, but good things like the FRCs and NSCs did come out of it.

          • Rocco

            How is it that a 154′ ship costs more than an LCS!!!???? No major weapons!!

          • Horn

            ???
            I think you are confusing the Sentinel class with the Legend class. The Sentinel is 154′ in length, but are under $70m per hull. That’s significantly less than an LCS, but it’s not a warship either. The Legend class costs over $100m more per hull than the LCS. The Legend class is 1000 tons larger than an LCS, almost 4x as much range, 3x the endurance, can only service 1 MH-60 in place of its MH-65, and is really only missing a towed array sonar and ASMs. It has a Phalanx for defense. Also, it can handle sea states that an LCS can’t. The hull is designed to last 50 years instead of 25 years like the LCS. All you have lacking between the LCS and NCS is ASMs and a towed array, which the NSC is designed to have added if necessary. There is extra weight, space, and power available for each of these systems to be retrofitted to existing hulls.

          • Rocco

            Thanks for clearing that up horn!! I believe it was the Harbor patrol ship I went on! Had 2 50 Cal’s & a 25 mm Bushmaster on the bow!

          • Lazarus

            Who said any of the problems identified in the OT&E for the Legend class were “fixed?” There is also no proof that these cutters will last longer than LCS other than to suggest that the USCG will keep them around regardless of their material condition.

          • Horn

            It’s been pointed out already that not all the problems have been fixed, but they have been identified. As for durability: steel hull, steel bulkheads, steel superstructure. The LCS has either a steel hull and aluminum superstructure (Freedom), or an all aluminum build (Independence). Plus, the Independence initially had corrosion issues and the Freedom had a large crack in its hull. The NSC’s hull strength deficiencies were addressed during the construction of the first 2 hulls.

          • Lucas Shaver

            Not everything with the NSCs have been fixed, but things like the Phalanx ammunition hoists, hull, combat systems, TEMPEST requirements, and various other things have been fixed or were fixed in construction of the later cutters. It has already been agreed upon that the defective electronics will be fixed by Lockheed.

      • Bill

        You may have noticed a size difference.

        • vetww2

          But not a utility difference, I sailed (literally) in a 155′ Perrini yacht, called the Andromeda La Dea. Same size, more fun. Ya jus godda figure out what you wanna do w3ith it. Something the CG has done, but not the Navy.

      • Lazarus

        No, at about $695m verses $568m for LCS.

        • PolicyWonk

          No – LCS, when finally equipped, as you know, comes in at over $900M, after post delivery yard modifications and mission package. NSN has repeatedly corrected you w/r/t the so-called costs of LCS.

          And, BTW, the LCS program has once again been relegated to the doghouse, because the MCM mission package, after the USN declared a bunch of it ready for IOC, has run afoul from the Pentagon’s IG, who has outlined a number of major deficiencies that dispute the USN’s findings.

          Cheers.

  • proudrino

    Just out of curiosity, anybody know how interoperable these ships are with US Navy platforms? Are the ‘advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment’ able to support Navy’s operations? I ask because it seems as if the Coasties have pretty much gone their own way in recent years.

    • Ed L

      The vessels have space, weight, and power reserved for future requirements which includes weapons and their systems. The cutters have a reduced Radar cross-section through shaping.

    • DaSaint

      Based on what I’ve found, the C4ISR system on board the FRC is by L3. The C4ISR on board the OPC will be Northrop Grumman, while the C4ISR system on board the NSC is the COMBATSS-21 system from Lockheed Martin.

      They can all share data, with the NSC being the most capable, using components of the LCS COMBATSS-21 CMS which has also be specified for the future FFG(X) system.

  • Kypros

    Seems like CG ship building programs go smoothly and without issue and the USCG gets good, effective vessels for the money.

  • Western

    Five day patrols? Are they limited by fuel, food or ? Can you refuel one of these at sea? Nice looking boat.

    • USNVO

      Probably all of the above. The USCG generally doesn’t do UNREP and from the pictures I have seen, there is no RAS station for a close-in rig. However, they could always be refueled by towing them alongside although that is more sea state dependent than other methods.

      • Luke Shaver

        The USCG does do UNREP on certain cutters depending on the type of deployment but true for the most part they don’t.

      • CapeMorgan

        It was, and is, standard procedure for WPBs (Island Class) to be refueled at sea by WMECs while on joint patrol using astern or alongside methods. It will be the same for these boats. Five day patrols is not a good metric given the size of these vessels. That is not good planning.

    • Rocco

      No can’t be refueled but can carry 55 gal drums on the stern .

  • publius_maximus_III

    Same length as the older ones (Island-class) it’s replacing, but the bridge has been shifted toward the stern. Wonder why? Wish the USN would get their formula for paint, you hardly ever see any rust on a USCG hull.

    • Kypros

      I’ve noticed the same. Is it paint formula, more maintenance, or something else?

      • USNVO

        I can’t say for the USCG as a whole, but for this specific picture, it is because the ship has just been commissioned. Look at the diesel exhaust port, there is not even a smudge on the hull. These are also made out of aluminum, which when it rusts, is white. If you look at a picture of a bouy tender or NSC after they have been on deployment, they generally don’t look nearly as pretty.

        • Luke Shaver

          Actually these have steel hulls. And Aluminum superstructure.

          • Rocco

            Agreed! I got the opportunity to board one during fleet week this year!!

    • USNVO

      These are 154ft while the Island class is 110ft. The pilothouses are pretty much in the same place (middle of the cutter) but the perspective of the picture and the extended O1 level forward of the pilot house makes it look further aft.

      • publius_maximus_III

        Sorry, I mis-read that.

    • Rocco

      That’s because they take pride in their ship!!