Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. (ESG) hosted the keel authentication ceremony for the U.S. Coast Guard’s future Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), USCGC CHASE (WMSM916), at the Nelson Street facility on 24 May, the company announced.
The press release issued by ESG as follows;
Admiral Karl Schultz, the 26th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, and Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chair and ship sponsor delivered remarks to mark the occasion along with ESG President Joey D’Isernia.
“Here at Eastern we start each day with the recognition that we are building a new era of cutters for the young women and men of the United States Coast Guard who will sail in them on critical National Security missions for decades to come. From our thirteen hundred family members to your nearly 60,000 active duty, reserve, and civilian workforce… our pledge remains the same – these cutters will always get you home,” said ESG President Joey D’Isernia.
The ship’s sponsor is Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40). As chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, the congresswoman leads the effort to ensure homeland security personnel have the resources and guidance they need to keep the country safe and has a vital role in supporting the acquisition of the OPC program. The cutter honors previous namesake vessels including those named after Salmon Portland Chase, former chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, governor, and antislavery leader.
“To the Coast Guard, our employees, and the community we call home, this is another milestone and moment of pride. We understand that you are depending on us to produce the absolute best workmanship and deliver a modern cutter that will stand the watch for up to 40 years. And much like Salmon Chase, we are up to the challenge,” said D’Isernia.
Joey D’Isernia was accompanied on the podium by Admiral Schultz and Cory Brooks, the expert welder charged with welding the sponsor’s initials onto the ceremonial keel authentication plate.
The keel authentication, also known as keel laying, represents the ceremonial start of a ship’s life by commemorating the assembly of the initial modular construction units. Historically, to attest that the keel was properly laid and of excellent quality, the shipbuilder would carve their initials into the keel. This practice is commemorated by welding the ship’s sponsor’s initials into the keel authentication plate.
Last month, ESG was awarded contract modifications to begin construction of hull three, future USCGC OPC INGHAM, and to purchase long-lead materials for hull four. The OPC is designed to conduct multiple missions in support of the nation’s maritime security and border protection. The OPC will provide a capability bridge between the national security cutter, which patrols the open ocean in the most demanding maritime environments, and the fast response cutter, which serves closer to shore. 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.
About Heritage-class OPC:
The Heritage-class cutter, also known as the Offshore Patrol Cutter and the Maritime Security Cutter, Medium, is a cutter class of the United States Coast Guard (USCG), developed as part of the Integrated Deepwater System Program and built by Eastern Shipbuilding.
The Heritage-class OPCs are the newest class of cutter in the USCG, bridging the capabilities of the Legend-class cutters and the Sentinel-class cutters. The cutters will be classified to the American Bureau of Shipping Naval Vessel Rules with the USCG addendum and will be built with a mix of military and commercial standards. The cutters will have the ability to install additional equipment (armament) and systems to augment their capabilities if required to conduct operations in higher threat environments in support of national security objectives or other missions. The cutters’ construction will provide combat survivability against various threats, including combatant-type compartmentalization, uninterruptible power supply to vital combat and damage control systems and sensors, and ballistic materials over critical areas for protection against small calibre weapons and shrapnel.
The Heritage-class OPCs are equipped with the same 220 rpm Bofors 57 mm gun as mounted on the USN’s Littoral combat ships and the USCG’s Legend-class cutters. The missile defence duties are handled by the MK 53 decoy systems also used on the Legend-class cutters. The Heritage-class cutters weapon and defence systems provide anti-surface capability, limited air-defence capability, and the capability to provide naval gunfire support. The cutter’s .50 calibre mounts and Mk 38/Mk 110 combination also give the cutter protection against fast attack craft.
The Saab Sea Giraffe AN/SPS-77 multi-mode medium-range naval radar system provides three-dimensional air and surface search functions. The multi-mode naval radar also provides Gun Weapon System cueing and supports the cutter’s self-defence and limited air defense capability. The cutters are also equipped with the AN/SLQ-32C(V)6 electronic warfare system, which is a scaled-down and lower-cost version of the AN/SLQ-32(V)6 SEWIP Block 2 system.
Rolls-Royce will supply the USCG Heritage-class fleet’s controllable-pitch propellers (CPP), shaft lines, and Promas rudders, which offer increased propulsive efficiency and improved manoeuvrability. The Promas rudder, combined with the water-soluble polyalkylene glycol lubricant used in the CPP system, delivers an efficient and environmentally friendly propulsion solution. Rolls-Royce will also supply bow thrusters, steering gear, fin stabilizers, and MTU marine generator sets.
- Length: 360 Feet
- Beam: 54 Feet
- Draft: 17 Feet
- Sustained Speed: 22 Plus Knots
- Range: 8,500 Plus Nautical Miles
- Endurance: 60 Days