Dec. 21, 2018 —
Coast Guard Cutter James, the fifth national security cutter (NSC), interdicts a low profile vessel in the Eastern Pacific Ocean Oct. 22, 2018; interdictions like this one contributed to the approximately 18.5 tons of cocaine the cutter offloaded in Port Everglades, Florida, Nov. 15. The Coast Guard is advancing the NSC acquisition and recently awarded a contract option for the production of the 10th and 11th NSCs. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray.
The Coast Guard awarded a fixed-price contract option to Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. of Pascagoula, Mississippi, today for the production of the 10th and 11th national security cutters (NSCs). The option exercised is valued at approximately $930 million.
The 10th and 11th NSCs will be built at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ shipyard in Pascagoula.
Six NSCs are currently in service. Coast Guard cutters Hamilton and James are stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, and Coast Guard cutters Bertholf, Waesche, Stratton and Munro are stationed in Alameda, California. The seventh NSC, Kimball, will be commissioned in January 2019 in its Honolulu, Hawaii, homeport. Midgett, the eighth cutter, is planned for a 2019 delivery; it will be the second NSC stationed in Honolulu. The ninth cutter, Stone, is slated for delivery in fiscal year 2021.
NSC have been responsible for interdicting 1.4 million pounds of cocaine in the so-called transit zone – the region north of the Indian ridge where drugs coming predominantly out of Columbia head toward the United States – over the past three years, as Adm. Karl Schultz, commandant of the Coast Guard, highlighted in his Dec. 14 remarks at a Navy League event. Schultz noted that the interdictions are part of efforts to reduce the 70,000 drug-related deaths in the U.S. each year.
The 418-foot NSCs support maritime homeland security and defense missions and are designed to navigate the most demanding maritime environments. The NSCs feature two types of standardized cutter boats with stern and side davit launch and recovery capabilities; advanced command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; aviation support facilities; and long-endurance station keeping. They are replacing the 378-foot high endurance cutters, which have been in service since the 1960s.
For more information: National Security Cutter program page