Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) and its industry partners this week commissioned a new production facility to support the build-up, integration and testing of the C5ISR system of the Coast Guard’s offshore patrol cutter (OPC) before installation on the ship.

The shipbuilder said that co-locating the C5ISR production facility with its OPC construction activities in Panama City, Fla., lowers costs and risks to the program and provides for a more secure and collaborative environment. The facility can hold two full-scale shipboard C5I operations spaces and an OPC bridge to replicate onboard facilities and keep up with the ship construction schedule.

ESG in August began formal testing of the navigation system and associated interfaces. The company said the C5ISR facility also allows it to reduce cybersecurity vulnerabilities by doing complete scans and fixes before installing the system on the ship, reducing cost and schedule impact to support a full authorization to operate at delivery.

“I believe this is the first-ever on-premises C5ISR facility of a major DHS marine construction program and it is specifically designed to reduce risk for the USCG,” Joey D’Isernia, ESG’s president, said in a statement. “The co-location of the shipbuilder and C5 providers brings the test of the best under one roof and makes it inherently more efficient, reliable and cost-effective during production.

Facilities of similar size, scope and complexity are not co-located at other shipyards and thus cannot provide these benefits.”

ESG is building the first four OPCs for the Coast Guard but the service is recompeting construction of the next 11 vessels. The decision to recompete the program was made after Hurricane Michael pummeled the company’s shipyard in October 2018, forcing ESG to seek relief under the contract. The relief was granted but at the same time the decision was made to reopen the OPC to potential new competitors.

Northrop Grumman [NOC] is the primary system integrator and design agent for the C5ISR system.

L3Harris Technologies [LHX] is supplying the exterior communication system and is the cybersecurity and design agent of the ship’s Aegis BL9G and AN/SSP-77(V)3 multi-mode radar systems. The interior communications system is supplied by Hose-McCann Communications. Rohde & Schwartz is providing the radio direction finder and identify friend or foe systems. Mid Atlantic Technical Engineering Services and Scientific Research Corp. are doing the C5ISR rack development and construction.

ESG recently began construction of the third OPC. Construction of the first 360-foot medium endurance cutter, the Argus, is nearly complete and is expected to be delivered in August 2022.