WASHINGTON, July 5 (UPI) -- A third U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter, the Stratton, has completed builder's trials in Pascagoula, Miss.
Teams from Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding and Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors operated propulsion, communications, damage control, weapons, aviation and small boat launch and recovery facilities and assessed the cutter's underway performance during the five-day event.
Personnel from the Coast Guard's Project Resident Office Gulf Coast and other experts from the Coast Guard Surface Forces Logistics Center, Stratton crew, U.S. Navy Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast and Naval Warfare Centers were on hand as observers, the Coast Guard said.
"I am thrilled that Stratton has successfully completed builder's trials, which brings this magnificent ship one step closer to commissioning and performing the valued services for which she was built," said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp.
"I look forward to a day when all eight national security cutters are complete and patrolling our nation's coasts with their state-of-the-art capabilities engaged in protecting those on the sea, protecting America from threats delivered by sea and protecting the sea itself."
Preparations for acceptance trials, conducted by the Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey, can now begin.
The 418-foot Legend class National Security Cutter is the flagship of the Coast Guard's recapitalized fleet and the most capable cutter operated by the service. The cutters feature both a small boat stern launch and a flight deck and are the only U.S. Department of Homeland Security maritime assets able to protect its crew against biological, radiological and chemical threats.
Two National Security Cutters, the Bertholf and the Waesche, have been commissioned and are executing Coast Guard missions in the Pacific Ocean. The Coast Guard plans to acquire a total of eight National Security Cutters.