Keeping the Edge Replacing and upgrading Coast Guard assets to meet expanding missions.
The United States has depended on the Coast Guard to save lives, protect natural resources and secure its maritime environment for more than 220 years. However, aging cutters, boats, aircraft and computer systems are challenging the Coast Guard’s ability to execute its traditional missions and adapt to new threats in the ever-changing maritime environment. Many cutters and aircraft have exceeded their planned service lives, requiring additional resources to repair and maintain them so that they are ready to respond to the needs of the nation. The Coast Guard is acquiring new assets and upgrading legacy platforms, mission systems and facilities to recapitalize its air, surface and communications capabilities to ensure that the service remains “always ready,” even under the most challenging situations and in the most demanding of environments. The Coast Guard’s Acquisition Directorate (CG-9) manages an almost $1.5 billion annual investment portfolio representing more than $30 billion in major and nonmajor acquisition projects and logistics support within three domains: surface; aviation; and command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR). An overview and update on the status of the projects in these domains follows. 4 | CGF 4.4
SURFACE PROJECTS jNational Security Cutter The Legend-class national security cutters (NSC) will replace the Coast Guard’s 12 aging 378-foot high endurance cutters, which have been in service since the 1960s. The NSCs are the service’s largest and most technologically-advanced white hull cutters and will serve as the flagships of the surface force. The NSCs are designed to execute the most challenging Coast Guard missions, including law enforcement, search and rescue, and homeland security, with its capability to maintain extended on-scene presence in harsh and remote maritime
environments. The NSC’s operational requirements include a maximum sustained speed of 28 knots; a range of 12,000 nautical miles; an endurance of 60-90 days; and the capacity to accommodate 148 people aboard. The first three NSCs—Bertholf, Waesche and Stratton—have been commissioned and are fully operational. All are homeported in Alameda, Calif. The fourth and fifth NSCs, Hamilton and James, are under construction, with deliveries scheduled for 2014 and 2015, respectively. Additionally, the Coast Guard has awarded a contract to acquire long lead time materials for the sixth NSC.