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Coast Guard completes third phase of Polar Star service life extension program


Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star undocking in Vallejo, California, after successfully completing phase three of its service life extension program. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Louis Simione.

The Coast Guard has completed the third of five planned phases of Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star’s service life extension program (SLEP) as part of the In-Service Vessel Sustainment Program.

Accomplished in Vallejo, California, by Mare Island Dry Dock, the work encompassed a 132-day, $15.6 million dry-docking evaluation along with service life extension machinery efforts. SLEP-funded improvements to shipboard equipment and numerous vital system upgrades for fire detection, communications and monitoring water quality were completed in conjunction with annual maintenance.

Polar Star will return to Seattle to commence preparations for the 2024 Operation Deep Freeze deployment. The next SLEP phase is scheduled to begin in April 2024.

The Polar Star SLEP addressed targeted systems such as propulsion, communication and machinery control systems for recapitalization. Major maintenance extends the service life of Polar Star beyond that of its original design. By replacing obsolete, unsupportable or maintenance-intensive equipment, the Coast Guard is mitigating the risk of lost operational days due to unplanned maintenance or system failures. The contracted SLEP work items and recurring maintenance are taking place within a five-year, annually phased production schedule running from 2021 through 2025. Each phase is coordinated so that operational commitments will still be met.

Polar Star is the Coast Guard’s only active heavy polar icebreaker. The Coast Guard is investing in a new fleet of polar security cutters that will sustain the service’s capabilities to meet mission needs in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

For more information: In-Service Vessel Sustainment Program page and Polar Security Cutter Program page.