The Coast Guard has picked the homeport for the service’s first pair of Offshore Patrol Cutters on the East Coast, the service announced on Wednesday.
The two OPCs will be based at Naval Station Newport, R.I., home of the Naval War College, Navy Officer Candidate School and Surface Warfare Officers school.
“NAVSTA Newport provides strategic operational reach and significant logistics support to our Service, helping secure our national interests in the Atlantic,” Adm. Karl Schultz said in a statement.
The Coast Guard has four buoy tenders stationed in Newport while the Navy’s Costal Riverine Squadron 8 is also based at the naval station.
The Coast Guard announced the first two cutters would be stationed at Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif., with the second two set for Coast Guard Base Kodiak, Alaska.
The service has declared the OPC program the service’s top acquisition priority. Eastern Shipbuilding won a $110 million contract to build the first ship with options for eight more in 2016. However, the yard in Florida suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Michael in 2018, prompting the service to recompete the last four options with a second yard.
The Coast Guard awarded eight industry contracts to shipyards interested in the work. A $1.1 million award went to Eastern, along with $2 million awards each to Austal USA in Mobile, Ala.; Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine; Bollinger Shipyards Lockport, LLC in Lockport, La.; Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisc.; Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.; Philly Shipyard, Inc. in Philadelphia, Pa.; and VT Halter Marine, Inc. in Pascagoula.
The keel for the first-in-class Argus (WMSM-915) was laid earlier this year.