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Video: Heavy Polar Security Cutter Model Testing Underway

The Coast Guard released a request for information July 30, 2020, for polar landing craft that will support polar security cutter (PSC) operations.

The Coast Guard celebrated the opening of the polar security cutter (PSC) project resident office at VT Halter Marine, Inc. in Pascagoula, Mississippi, today.

The PSC Integrated Program Office (IPO) was recognized by the Department of Homeland Security as the Major Acquisition Program of the Year in a ceremony on July 9, 2019.

The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy, through an IPO, on April 23, 2019, awarded VT Halter Marine Inc., of Pascagoula, Mississippi, a fixed price incentive (firm) contract for the detail, design and construction of the Coast Guard's lead PSC.

Polar Security Cutter


The Coast Guard is recapitalizing its polar icebreaker fleet to ensure continued access to both polar regions and support the country's economic, commercial, maritime and national security needs.

The operational polar fleet currently includes one 399-foot heavy icebreaker (Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, commissioned in 1976) and one 420-foot medium icebreaker (Coast Guard Cutter Healy, commissioned in 2000). These cutters are designed for open-water icebreaking and feature reinforced hulls and specially angled bows.

Polar Star underwent a three-year reactivation and returned to operations in late 2013. Since then, Polar Star has completed six Operation Deep Freeze deployments to resupply McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

Why this program?

The United States has vital national interests in the polar regions. Polar security cutters (PSCs) enable the U.S. to maintain defense readiness in the Arctic and Antarctic regions; enforce treaties and other laws needed to safeguard both industry and the environment; provide ports, waterways and coastal security; and provide logistical support – including vessel escort – to facilitate the movement of goods and personnel necessary to support scientific research, commerce, national security activities and maritime safety.

The Coast Guard needs six new PSCs to ensure national year-round access to the polar regions and to provide self-rescue capability.

How is the Coast Guard addressing the need for more polar icebreaking capability?

The Coast Guard and U.S. Navy, through an integrated program office, on April 23, 2019, awarded VT Halter Marine Inc., of Pascagoula, Mississippi, a fixed price incentive (firm) contract for the detail, design and construction of the lead PSC. Construction on the first PSC is planned to begin in 2021 with delivery planned for 2024. The contract includes financial incentives for earlier delivery.

PSC: In the News


Aug. 7, 2020 - Coast Guard releases request for information for polar landing craft 

March 20, 2020 - Coast Guard Awards Eight Contracts for Offshore Patrol Cutter Industry Studies 


Sept. 12, 2019 - Coast Guard Establishes PSC Project Resident Office 

Aug. 8, 2019 - Polar Security Cutter Integrated Program Office Recognized as DHS Program of the Year

July 25, 2019 - Coast Guard Acquisition Excellence On Full Display At DHS Awards Ceremony

April 23, 2019 - PSC Contract Awarded to Recapitalize Nation’s Arctic Capabilities


March 5, 2018 - RFP Released For Coast Guard's Heavy Polar Icebreaker

Feb. 22, 2018 - Polar Icebreaker Acquisition Proceeds To Next Phase


Oct. 19, 2017 - U.S. Navy Releases Draft Request For Proposal For Coast Guard Icebreaker Design, Construction

July 26, 2017 - Coast Guard Participates In Icebreaker Model Testing Demonstration With DHS, National Research Council Of Canada (NRC)

June 16, 2017 - Heavy Polar Icebreaker Model Testing Underway

April 4, 2017 - Acquisition Update: Coast Guard Releases Draft Polar Icebreaker Specifications

Feb. 22, 2017 - Acquisition Update: Coast Guard Awards Multiple Contracts For Heavy Polar Icebreaker Industry Studies

Feb. 9, 2017 - Acquisition Update: U.S., Canada Governments Partner On Model And Test Activities To Support Heavy Polar Icebreaker Acquisition Efforts


Dec. 23, 2016 - Acquisition Update: Coast Guard Requests Quotes For Heavy Polar Icebreaker Industry Studies

Oct. 26, 2016 - Acquisition Update: Coast Guard Releases Request For Information For Heavy Polar Icebreaker Industry Studies

March 17, 2016 - Deep Freeze 2016: Reaching the bottom of the world

Feb. 9, 2016 - Coast Guard To Hold Polar Icebreaker Industry Day March 18


April 20, 2015 - Coast Guard Team Observes Icebreaking Technology In Finland


Nov. 20, 2014 - U.S., Canadian Coast Guards Exchange Polar Icebreaker Acquisition Knowledge

June 20, 2014 - Acquisition Update: Polar Icebreaker Acquisition Project Approved For Next Phase


Aug. 16, 2013 - USCG Arctic Strategy Requires More Ice Breakers

April 25, 2013 - Heavy Polar Icebreaker Project Makes Progress

Feb. 28, 2013 - Coast Guard Heavy Polar Icebreaker Project Taking Shape