National Security Cutter
Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, under contract to the Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS) joint venture, consisting of Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. ICGS is in the second year of a five-year base contract, awarded in June 2002, containing four five-year options, to design, develop and build the Coast GuardÃs Deepwater program. Deepwater involves the modernization of Coast Guard assets, including upgrades to legacy ship, aircraft and communications systems, and the development and construction of new ships, aircraft and communications systems.
The ship, along with two other new cutter classes to be developed and built, will maximize common operations, training and maintenance. The National Security Cutter has a maximum design draft beam of 54 feet and a full load displacement of 4,112 tons. Accommodations include maximum berthing for up 148 officers and personnel for use in national defense missions, although typical Coast Guard missions would require 102 officers and personnel. A Detroit Diesel MTU twin screw CODAG with two 9,655 horsepower diesel engines will power the ships. Detroit Diesel is a subsidiary of GermanyÃs DaimlerChrysler. Ship speed is 28 knots. The cutters have a dual hangar configuration with a combination of potential aircraft mixes. Recent design changes call for an expanded flight deck, which will improve interoperability with certain DoD and Department of Homeland Security helicopters. Initially, under Level 1, Class 1, the ship could carry either one HH-65 Dolphin helicopter and two Eagle Eye Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or two Dolphins or four Eagle Eyes. Later, under Level 1, Class 2, the ships could carry combinations that include HH-60J, SH-60 (all), MH-60S and AB-139 helicopters. Key weapons include one United Defense Industries 57-mm Mk3 gun, which the Navy has designated EX 110 Mod 0, one Raytheon Mk15 Close In Weapons System (CIWS) B1B, and a Navy issue .50 caliber Mk 53 NUIKA machine gun. The ship will have the capacity to carry two smaller boats, one the Short Range Prosecutor and the other The Long Range Interceptor. A stern ramp will accommodate one of the boats while davits would host the other and be used to move the small craft around. The National Security Cutter, along with other planned Deepwater assets, will be equipped with new sensors and communications systems enabling greater command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance capability than ever before for the service. For example, a Long Range Interceptor conducting a boarding mission will be able to send sensor data back to the mother ship, which in turn will transmit the picture back to a shore-based operations center, increasing maritime domain awareness.
The National Security Cutter is responsible for fulfilling the major Coast Guard missions including maritime safety, security and mobility, national defense and protection of natural resources.
Current plans call for construction of eight National Security Cutters to replace 12 378-foot cutters. Congress provided $208 million in FY Ã04 for construction of the first ship. The program is in the advanced design phase with fabrication set to start in July 2004 and keel laying slated for the December 2004/January 2005 timeframe. The first ship is expected to enter service in 2006 and the final ship in 2013. The Bush administration has asked Congress for $265 million in FY Ã05 to build the second ship, which would be delivered in 2007. The Deepwater program was established prior to the September 2001 terrorist attacks against the U.S., and since then the Coast Guard has seen its mission requirements increase. Whether additional National Security Cutters would be built to help the Coast Guard meet these requirements has yet to be seen, although a soon-to-be-released RAND Corp. report is expected to suggest more Deepwater assets are needed if the service is to be expected to fulfill all of its requirements.