List of equipment of the United States Coast Guard

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The progress of the United States Coast Guard acquisition programs as of June 2023



Originally, the Coast Guard used the term cutter in its traditional sense, as a type of small sailing ship.[1]

Larger cutters, over 181 feet (55 m) in length, are controlled by Area Commands, the Atlantic Area or Pacific Area. Smaller cutters come under control of district commands. Cutters usually carry a motor surf boat and/or a rigid-hulled inflatable boat. Polar-class icebreakers (WAGB) carry an Arctic survey boat (ASB) and landing craft.

Any Coast Guard crew with officers or petty officers assigned has law-enforcement authority (14 USC Sec. 89) and can conduct armed boardings.

The Coast Guard operates 243 Cutters,[2] defined as any vessel more than 65 feet (20 m) long, that has a permanently assigned crew and accommodations for the extended support of that crew.[3]

  Class is currently being built and currently active
  Class is currently being replaced
  Class is currently being built and not yet active
Name or Class Image Quantity Length Armament Notes
Polar-class 2 0 460' Building 2, 3 total on order. The Polar Security Cutter Program is to replace the Polar-class. To enter service in 2025.
Healy-class 1 420'
  • Various small arms
Medium class icebreaker used for icebreaking and research. Entered service in 2000.[5]
Legend-class 9 418' 9 Active; Building 2; Option for 12th.[6] Designated to replace the Hamilton-class. Entered Service in 2008.
Polar-class 1 399'
  • Various small arms
USCGC Polar Star (WAGB-10) is only active heavy icebreaker. Entered service in 1976.[7][8][9] USCGC Polar Sea (WAGB-11) is located in Seattle, Washington but is not currently in active service.
Heritage-class 0 360'
  • 1 x MK 110 57 mm gun a variant of the Bofors 57 mm gun and Gunfire Control System
  • 1 x BAE Systems Mk 38 Mod 3 25 mm gun with 7.62 mm co-axial gun
  • 2 x M2 Browning .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns mounted on a MK 50 Stabilized Small Arms Mount (SSAM)
  • 4 x crew-served M2 Browning .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns
  • Various small arms
3 under construction; 12 ordered or optioned; 25 total planned.[10] Designated to replace the Famous-class and Reliance-class. To enter service in 2025.[11]
USCGC Eagle 1 295' None USCGC Eagle (WIX-327): Eagle is home ported at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. It is used for training voyages for Coast Guard Academy cadets and Coast Guard officer candidates. USCGC Eagle was built in Germany as the Horst Wessel, and was taken by the United States as a war reparation in 1945.
USCGC Alex Haley 1 283' Entered service in 1971 as USS Edenton.
Famous-class 13 270'
  • 1 × OTO Melara Mark 75 76 mm/62 caliber naval gun
  • 2 × .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns
  • Various small arms
Entered service in 1983.
USCGC Mackinaw 1 240'
  • 2 × crew-served M240B 7.62 mm machine guns
  • Various small arms
Mackinaw is a 240-foot (73 m) heavy icebreaker built for operations on the North American Great Lakes and home ported at Cheboygan, Michigan. Entered Service in 2006.
Juniper-class 16 225'
  • 2 × .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns
  • Various small arms
Entered service in 1996.
Reliance-class 14 210'
  • 1 ×Mk 38 Mod 1 25 mm gun
  • 2 × .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns
  • Various small arms
Entered service in 1964.
Keeper-class 14 175' None Entered service in 1997.
160-foot-class Inland construction Tender 4 160' None Entered service in 1976.
Sentinel-class 40 154' 64 planned. Designated to replace Island-class. Entered service in 2012.
Bay-class 9 140' 10 planned. Entered service in 1979.
Island-class 49 110' (WPB): Eight additional 110-foot patrol boats were extended to 123 feet (37 m) but structural issues developed shortly after these conversions and the cutters were deemed unsafe to operate.[12] Entered service in 1985.
100-foot Class Inland Buoy Tenders 2 100' None Entered service in 1945.
100-foot-class Inland Construction Tender 3 100' None Entered service in 1944.
Marine Protector-class 67 87' Entered service in 1998. Sea PROTECTOR MK50 GWS Carried on four Marine Protector Class Cutters.
Kankakee-class 2 75' None Entered service in 1990.
Gasconade-Class 9 75'
  • Various small arms
Entered Service in 1964
75' inland construction tender 9 75' None Entered service in 1962
65' river buoy tender 2 65' None
65' inland buoy tender 2 65' None Entered service in 1954
Small Harbor Tug 11 65' None (WYTL): This is a class of eleven 65-foot tugs used by the United States Coast Guard for search and rescue, law enforcement, aids-to-navigation work and light icebreaking. Entered service in 1961.


The Coast Guard operates about 1,402 boats, defined as any vessel less than 65 feet (20 meters) in length, which generally operate near shore and on inland waterways. The most common is 25 feet (7.6 m) long, of which the Guard has more than 350.[13] The shortest is 13 feet (4.0 m).

378-foot High Endurance Cutter (WHEC) USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715), commissioned in 1967 (U.S. Coast Guard Photo)
The Coast Guard boat fleet includes
Name Image Length Notes
64-ft Aids to Navigation Boat 64'
64-ft Screening Vessel 64'
55-ft Aids to Navigation Boat 55'
52-ft Motor Life Boat 52' The Coast Guard currently has four of the 52-foot motor life boats, a craft designed from the ground up to serve in challenging surf conditions. All four craft are currently assigned to surf stations in the Pacific Northwest. Also known as "Special Purpose Craft - Heavy Weather (SPC-HWX)"
Buoy Utility Stern Loading 49'
47-ft Motor Life Boat 47' The Coast Guard's 47-foot primary heavy-weather boat used for search and rescue as well as law enforcement and homeland security.[14]
Response Boat Medium 45' The Coast Guard has signed a multi-year contract for 180 Response Boat – Medium (RB-M) boats that were delivered starting in 2008 to replace the 41′ UTB boats. These aluminum boats are 45 feet (14 m) in length, with twin diesel engines (total 825 hp), are self-righting, have a four crew, six passenger capacity, are equippable with two .50 caliber machine guns, have an excellent fendering system, can achieve a top speed of 42 knots (78 km/h), and are capable of towing a 100-ton vessel in eight-foot seas. The boats were built by Kvichak Marine Industries of Kent, Washington and Marinette Marine of Manitowoc, Wisconsin.[15][16]
Near-Shore Life Boat 42'
39-ft Tactical Training Boat 39'
38-ft Training Boat 38'
Arctic Survey Boat 38' Only one of these vessels is used by the Coast Guard. It is kept on the USCGC Healy and is used for arctic studies.
36-ft Boarding Team Delivery 36'
Long-Range Interceptor 36' An 11-meter (36-foot) high-speed launch that can be launched from the rear ramps of the National Security Cutters.[17]
33-ft Law Enforcement 33'
Trailerable Aids to Navigation Boat 29'
Response Boat- Small II 29' A 29-foot replacement for the Defender Class, built by Metal Shark Boats.
Cutterboat- Over the Horizon 25'
Transportable Security Boat 25' 25-foot (7.6 m) boat, based on the commercial version of the 25-foot (8 m) center-console Boston Whaler, suitable for work in inland waters, easily transportable by trailer. These are primarily used by Port Security Units for force protection in naval support areas abroad, as well as, ports of embarkation/debarkation in expeditionary areas. Most recently these boats and units were deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The durability, versatility, and mobility of these boats make them ideal for this type of operation.[18]
Response Boat- Small 25' A high-speed boat, for a variety of missions, including search and rescue, port security and law enforcement duties. The original 25-foot boats built by SAFE Boats International (Secure All-around Flotation Equipped) of Port Orchard, Washington are being replaced by 29-foot boats built by Metal Shark Boats of Jeanerette, LA.[19][20]
24-ft Shallow Water 24'
24-ft Cutterboat - Aids to Navigation - Large 23'
Cutterboat- Large 24'-19'
22-ft Airboat 22'
20-ft Aids to Navigation Boat - Small 21'
20-ft Airboat 20'
18-ft Cutterboat - Aids to Navigation - Medium 18'
18-ft Airboat 18'
Cutterboat- Medium 17'
16-ft Aids to Navigation Boat – Skiff 16'
Cutterboat- Small 13'
USCG Auxiliary


A USCG HC-130 Hercules near Oahu

The Coast Guard operates about 210 aircraft. Fixed-wing aircraft, such as Lockheed HC-130 Hercules turboprops, operate from Air Stations on long-duration missions. Helicopters (Aérospatiale HH-65 Dolphin and Sikorsky HH-60J Jayhawk) operate from Air Stations, Air Facilities, and flight-deck equipped cutters, and can rescue people or intercept smuggling vessels. Some special MH- designated helicopters are armed with guns and some are equipped with armor to protect against small arms fire.

The Coast Guard flies several aircraft types:

Name Image Quantity Notes
Lockheed HC-130 Hercules 27
HC-27J Spartan 11 [21][22] Out of 14 on order.
CASA HC-144A Ocean Sentry 18 [23][24][25]
Gulfstream C-37A 2 Aircraft as a VIP transport for high-ranking Coast Guard and Homeland Security officials.[26]
HH-65 Dolphin 102
Sikorsky MH-60T Jayhawk 42 [27]
RG-8A Condors unspecified number
Boeing Insitu ScanEagle unspecified number [28]
HC-144A Ocean Sentry (CASA CN-235-300 MP Persuader).

The Coast Guard was to purchase the Bell Eagle Eye UAV as part of the Deepwater program, but this has been cancelled.[29] The Coast Guard is currently preparing to launch a small UAS competition for the Legend-class NSC and future Heritage-class cutter.[30]

In addition to regular Coast Guard aircraft, privately owned general aviation aircraft are used by Coast Guard Auxiliarists for patrols and search-and-rescue missions.

D9 airboat crews deploy for Hurricane Sandy

Land vehicles[edit]

Name Image Origin Quantity Notes
HMMWV  United States limited unspecified number Used primarily by Deployable Specialized Forces[31]
LSSV  United States unspecified number [32]

Electronic Warfare Systems[edit]

  • Sea Commander Aegis derived combat system
  • SCCS-Lite combat data system
  • AN/SLQ-32B(V)2 Electronic Warfare System
  • L-3 C4ISR suite
  • AN/SPS-78 surface search and navigation radar
  • AN/SPS-50 surface search radar
  • AN/APX-123(V)1 IFF (ship automation provided by MTU Callosum)

Shipboard Weapon Systems[edit]

Name Image Notes
Mk 38 25mm autocannon Mod 1, Mod 2 and Mod 3
Mk 44 30mm autocannon [1]
Phalanx CIWS 20 mm Block 1B Baseline 2
Bofors 57 mm gun MK 110. A variant of the Bofors 57 mm gun and Gunfire Control System
OTO Melara Mark 75 76 mm/62 caliber naval gun

Decoys and Countermeasures[edit]

Name Image Notes
Mark 36 SRBOC chaff countermeasures
Nulka MK 53 Mod 10


Model Image Caliber Type Origin Details
M9 9mm Pistol  Italy Limited service
P229R-DAK .40 S&W Pistol  Germany Standard service pistol
Glock 19 9mm Pistol  Austria Standard service pistol. Replacing the Sig P229R-DAK [33]
Assault Rifles
M16A2 5.56×45mm NATO Assault rifle  United States Limited service
M4 5.56×45mm NATO Assault rifle, Carbine  United States Standard issue service rifle. The Deployable Operations Group also employs the Mk 18 upper receiver[34]
MK18/CQBR 5.56×45mm NATO Assault rifle, Carbine  United States Standard issue service carbine. The Deployable Specialized Forces also employs them
M870P 12-gauge Shotgun  United States
Saiga-12 12-gauge Shotgun  Russia The Deployable Specialized Forces employs them
Machine Guns
M240 7.62×51mm NATO General purpose, medium machine gun  United States M240B variant is employed aboard surface vessels while the M240H is used aboard the MH-60 Jayhawk and MH-65 Dolphin helicopters. The M240 is also used on land by Port Security Units[35]
M249 5.56×45mm NATO Light machine gun  United States Used on various boats and primarily by Deployable Specialized Forces
M60 7.62×51mm NATO General purpose, medium machine gun  United States Used on various boats such as the Defender-class boat[36]
Browning M2HB .50 BMG Heavy machine gun  United States Primarily mounted on seagoing vessels. Some machine guns are used on land by Port Security Units[37]
Precision Rifles, Designated Marksman Rifles & Sniper Rifles.
MK14 EBR 7.62×51mm NATO Designated marksman rifle, Sniper rifle  United States Variant known as the M14 Tactical fitted with the Mk 14 Enhanced Battle Rifle stock, with a 22-inch barrel and a Smith Enterprise muzzle brake.
Mk 11 7.62×51mm NATO Designated marksman rifle, Sniper rifle  United States Used by the Deployable Specialized Forces[34]
Barrett 50 cal/M82/M107 .50 BMG Anti materiel sniper rifle  United States Used for Airborne Use of Force (AUF) missions
Robar RC-50 .50 BMG Anti materiel sniper rifle  United States
Grenade-Based Weapons
M203 40mm Grenade launcher  United States Single-shot underbarrel grenade launcher[38]
Mk 19 40mm Automatic grenade launcher  United States Belt-fed
MK3 grenade Concussion Grenade  United States Used as an anti-swimmer grenade. Being phased out and being replaced by a newer Anti-Swimmer Grenade.[39]


Rescue 21 Logo.

Coast Guard radio stations cover a wide geographical area using very high frequency and high frequency radios. There are eight major radio stations covering long-range transmissions and an extensive network of VHF radio stations along the nation's coastline and inland rivers.

The current communication system is the Rescue 21. Rescue 21 is an advanced maritime command, control, and communications (C3) system.

The OMEGA navigation system and the LORAN-C transmitters outside the USA were run until 1994 also by the United States Coast Guard, and LORAN-C transmitters within the US were decommissioned in June 2010, with the exception of 5 CONUS LORAN-C stations that continue to be staffed due to international agreements.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "10". USCG Regulations] (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-07-23. Retrieved 11 December 2006.
  2. ^ "Operational_Assets". US Coast Guard. Archived from the original on 16 October 2019. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  3. ^ "United States Coast Guard Regulations, Chapter 10 – Classification and Status of Coast Guard Vessels" (PDF). 1992. COMDINSTM 5000.3B. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  4. ^ Ong, Peter (2022-04-21). "USGC's Polar Security Cutters to Receive Mark 38 Mod 4 Guns". Naval News. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  5. ^ "420-foot Icebreaker (WAGB)". Aircraft, Boats, and Cutters: Cutters. 28 June 2013. Archived from the original on 11 January 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2009.
  6. ^ "National Security Cutter". United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 20 October 2022.
  7. ^ "399-foot Polar Class Icebreakers (WAGB)". Aircraft, Boats, and Cutters: Cutters. 28 June 2013. Archived from the original on 10 January 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2009.
  8. ^ "Alaska Lt. Gov. calls for US icebreakers". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Associated Press. 30 November 2011. Archived from the original on 20 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Northrop Grumman to Supply Polar Ice Breaker Navigation Support for U.S. Coast Guard". 20 October 2013. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  10. ^ Vavasseur, Xavier (2022-07-01). "US Coast Guard Selects Austal USA to Continue OPC Production". Naval News. Archived from the original on 7 July 2022. Retrieved 9 October 2022.
  11. ^ Ong, Peter (2022-01-13). "U.S. Coast Guard Provides Information on the Offshore Patrol Cutter". Naval News. Retrieved 2022-01-16.
  12. ^ "Our Opinion: Shipbuilding issues should be solved". The Mississippi Press. July 23, 2007. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013. Retrieved 2007-07-23.
  13. ^ "Operational Assets". U.S. Coast Guard. Archived from the original on 28 February 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  14. ^ "47-foot Motor Lifeboat".
  15. ^ "Keel Laying Ceremony Marks Production of New Response Boat" (Press release). United States Coast Guard. 2007-06-28. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-10-15. Retrieved 2009-10-15.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "Long Range Interceptor".
  18. ^ "Transportable Port Security Boat". Archived from the original on 12 December 2012.
  19. ^ "Defender-class boat Response Boat". Archived from the original on 5 August 2012.
  20. ^ "28 DEFIANT » Metal Shark". Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
  21. ^ "USCG receives 11th regenerated C-27J". Naval Warfare International. 20 February 2017. Archived from the original on 27 February 2017. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  22. ^ "USCG: C-27J Medium Range Surveillance Aircraft". Archived from the original on 2017-02-27. Retrieved 2017-02-26.
  23. ^ Air Forces Monthly. Stamford, Lincolnshire: Key Publishing Ltd. March 2013. p. 31.
  24. ^ "EADS North America Delivers 15th HC-144A Ocean Sentry to U.S. Coast Guard". June 7, 2013. Archived from the original on June 14, 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  25. ^ "Airbus Group, Inc. delivers U.S. Coast Guard with its 16th HC-144A Ocean Sentry Aircraft". January 22, 2014. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  26. ^[bare URL PDF]
  27. ^ HH-60J Jayhawk Archived 2013-04-01 at the Wayback Machine at
  28. ^ Read "Leveraging Unmanned Systems for Coast Guard Missions" at 2020. doi:10.17226/25987. ISBN 978-0-309-68521-4. S2CID 241597106.
  29. ^ "Bell Eagle Eye HV-911". USCG. Archived from the original on 2006-08-30. Retrieved 2006-08-25.
  30. ^ "US Coast Guard to Launch sUAS Competition". 23 January 2018. Archived from the original on 25 January 2018. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  31. ^ IHS Jane's Land Warfare Platforms Logistics, Support & Unmanned 2015-2016 AM
  32. ^ Archived 2013-04-01 at the Wayback Machine at
  33. ^
  34. ^ a b Joint Service Small Arms Systems Annual Symposium - 20 May 2008
  35. ^ "Port Security Unit 305 provides anti-terrorism force protection in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba". Archived from the original on 26 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  36. ^ U.S. Coast Guard: Response boat-small fact sheet(PDF)
  37. ^ "Everyday heroes tasked with extraordinary duties". 22 July 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  38. ^ PA2 John Edwards and PA1 Kimberly Smith, PADET Atlantic City. "Learning to Shoot All Over Again". Coast Guard Magazine, Issue 2, 2006, pp. 4–19.
  39. ^ "Anti-Swimmer Grenade offers underwater port security". Retrieved 28 January 2017.