PASCAGOULA, Miss., Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls said it launched the Hamilton, the fourth vessel produced for the U.S. Coast Guard's National Security Cutter program.
The company said it launched the Hamilton from a port in Pascagoula, Miss. The national security cutter program is part of a fleet designed to replace a 378-foot cutter that entered into service in the 1960s.
The Coast Guard awarded Ingalls with a $480 million contract in 2010 to build the Legend-class cutter. The Hamilton is the fourth in the series and is set for formal delivery to the Coast Guard next year.
"The NSC is a proven hull, and our Coast Guard customer is pleased with the performance of the first three ships currently operating in the fleet," Ingalls' NSC director, Jim French, said in a statement Monday. "We continue to improve across the board in the construction of these cutters and this trend should continue."
Ingalls said its national security cutters are 418-foot-long vessels displacing 4,500 tons fully loaded. It can stay deployed for 60 days with a full crew of 110 and has a range of 12,000 miles.
The Hamilton was launched Saturday. Keel-laying for Ingalls' fifth national security cutter, the James, took place in May. Construction is more than 30 percent complete.