Second Offshore Cutter on the Way, 23 to go!
Late last month, Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. (ESG) hosted the keel authentication ceremony for the U.S. Coast Guard’s future Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), USCGC Chase (WMSM 916), at their Nelson Street facility in Panama City.
USCGC Chase is the second OPC laid down, following on class leader USCGC Argus (WMSM 915), is part of a ~25 ship sloop/light frigate/corvette/offshore patrol vessel group meant to replace the over half-decade old 210-foot Reliance– and 30-year-old 270-foot Bear-class medium endurance cutters.
•Length: 360 feet
•Beam: 54 feet
•Draft: 17 feet
•Sustained Speed: 22 Plus knots
•Range: 8500 Plus nautical miles
•Endurance: 60 Days
The main armament is a Mk 110 57mm gun forward with a MK 38 25mm gun over the stern HH60-sized hangar, and four M2 .50 cal mounts.
I say replace the Mk38 with a C-RAM, shoehorn a towed sonar, ASW tubes, an 8-pack Mk41 VLS crammed with Sea Sparrows, and eight NSSMs aboard and call it a day.
But no one listens to me…
The first flight of 11 OPCs will include the Active, Argus, Diligence, and Vigilant, named for four cutters of the first fleet [of Alexander Hamilton’s 10 revenue service cutters in 1791] and subsequent cutters with the same names.
OPC Pickering will pay homage to the distinguished combat record of the Quasi-War cutter Pickering.
OPCs Chase and Rush will bear two cutter names long associated with the Coast Guard, most recently with two high-endurance cutters of the 378-foot Hamilton-class [who put in time on the gun line off Vietnam.]