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Coast Guard orders new cutter

The U.S. Coast Guard has tapped Eastern Shipbuilding for a new Offfshore Patrol Cutter.

By Richard Tomkins
Coast Guard orders new cutter
An artist's impression of a new Offshore Patrol Cutter. U.S. Coast Guard image

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard has contracted Florida's Eastern Shipbuilding Group to build a lead Offshore Patrol Cutter, with as many as eight more to follow.

The OPCs will replace the service's aging fleet of medium-endurance cutters and will feature a flight deck and advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment.

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The OPC will provide a capability bridge between the Coast Guard's National Security Cutter and the Fast Response Cutter, which operates closer to shore.

"The Offshore Patrol Cutter acquisition is the Coast Guard's highest investment priority, and we are proud to announce this important milestone," said Commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Paul Zukunft. "The Offshore Patrol Cutter will replace our aging medium endurance cutters and provide the majority of offshore presence by the Coast Guard's cutter fleet.

"Whether combating transnational organized criminal networks off Central America or patrolling in the increasingly accessible Arctic, the Offshore Patrol Cutter will ensure our nation's maritime security and economic interests are preserved for decades to come."

The Coast Guard said it expects to eventually acquire 25 of the vessels.

The contract given to Eastern Shipbuilding is worth $110.29 million. Production of nine cutters would be worth $2.38 billion to the company.

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The Coast Guard said the delivery of the lead cutter is scheduled for fiscal 2021.

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