Offshore Patrol Cutter
Artist rendering courtesy of Eastern Shipbuilding Group.
Acquisition of the offshore patrol cutter (OPC) is the Coast Guard’s highest investment priority. The OPC will provide a capability bridge between the national security cutter, which patrols the open ocean in the most demanding maritime environments, and the fast response cutter, which serves closer to shore. The ships will feature state-of-the-market technology and will replace the service’s 270-foot and 210-foot medium endurance cutters, which are becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and operate.
Why this program?
The 270-foot and 210-foot medium endurance cutters that the OPC will replace are approximately 30 and 50 years old, respectively. The Coast Guard has made targeted investments to improve the reliability and operational availability of the medium endurance cutters, but they are still on their way to technological obsolescence. In addition, the Coast Guard’s missions have evolved in response to changing national and international maritime security needs, and the service needs a fleet designed to execute its missions. The OPC is the most effective way to fill the service’s need for long-term offshore capability to maintain current and future mission effectiveness.