This milestone is yet another signal of growing momentum in the OPC program. The lead OPC,
USCGC ARGUS, is nearly fully assembled and remains on schedule and on budget. In May 2021, the keel was laid for the second OPC, USCGC CHASE, and all long lead time materials have been ordered for USCGC Hull 4.
Joey D’Isernia, President of Eastern Shipbuilding Group said:
“We are excited to begin the construction of USCGC INGHAM, the third vessel of the Heritage Class OPC program. Our dedicated workers and subcontractors are delivering exceptional quality and speed every day. It is our highest priority to get these superior vessels to the men and women of the USCG so that they can carry out their important missions around the globe with greater capability and effectiveness. Our track record of consistent government shipbuilding execution and unmatched quality has given our customer the confidence they needed to bring yet another vessel onto the production line. Our forward momentum continues to increase on this program and our recent investments in our people and our facilities will ensure that the men and women of the USCG receive these critical assets on the shortest timeline possible with the highest level of quality.”
ESG fully rebuilt its operational facilities following Hurricane Michael in 2018 and also expanded
them with over $42.5 million in infrastructure improvement investments. ESG dedicated its Nelson Street Shipyard exclusively to the USCG OPC program to ensure an unimpeded and hot production line experienced in constructing OPCs. The company has completed a launchway conversion and is making associated dredging investments at the yard to have a facility capable of launching and delivering two OPC sized vessels per year. At its Allanton Shipyard, ESG has constructed a state-of-the-art C5ISR Production Facility to accomplish testing and integration of operational combat systems, equipment, and simulators on premises prior to final installation on the vessel. Later this year, ESG will commission a new aluminum superstructure fabrication and assembly hall at its Nelson Street facility.
About the USCG’s offshore patrol cutter
The US Coast Guard plans to acquire 25 OPCs. The cutters will replace the 270-foot and 210-foot medium endurance cutters, which are becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and operate. The OPCs will bridge the capabilities of the national security cutters, which patrol the open ocean, and the fast response cutters, which serve closer to shore.
Each OPC will be capable of deploying independently or as part of task groups and serving as a mobile command and control platform for surge operations such as hurricane response, mass migration incidents and other events. The cutters will also support Arctic objectives by helping regulate and protect emerging commerce and energy exploration in Alaska. The OPC design includes the capability of carrying an MH-60 or MH-65 helicopter and three operational Over The-Horizon small boats. The vessel is also equipped with a highly sophisticated combat system and C5ISR suite that will enhance capabilities to execute the service’s missions. Leonardo DRS provides the hybrid electric drive system.
Production of the lead OPC, Argus, began in January 2019. It is scheduled for delivery in 2022.
USCG OPC Main specifications:
- Length: 360 feet
- Beam: 54 feet
- Draft: 17 feet
- Sustained Speed: 22.5 knots
- Range: 10,200 nautical miles at 14 knots
- Endurance: 60-days