National Security Cutter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from National Security Cutters)
Jump to: navigation, search
National Security Cutter
USCG National Security Cutter BERTHOLF (WMSL-750).jpeg
USCGC Bertholf, the first National Security Cutter
Class overview
Name: Legend-class National Security Cutter
Builders: Ingalls Shipbuilding
Preceded by: Hamilton class
Cost: $684m(average), $735m(FY13 ship)[1]
In service: 2008–
Building: 3
Planned: 9[2]
Completed: 6
Active: 6
General characteristics
Type: United States Coast Guard Cutter
Displacement: 4,500 long tons (4,600 t)
Length: 418 feet (127 m)
Beam: 54 feet (16 m)
Draft: 22.5 feet (6.9 m)
Speed: Over 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)
Range: 12,000 nautical miles (22,000 km; 14,000 mi)
Complement: 113 (14 officers + 99 enlisted) and can carry up to 148 depending on mission[4]
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • EADS 3D TRS-16 AN/SPS-75 Air Search Radar
  • SPQ-9B Fire Control Radar
  • AN/SPS-73 Surface Search Radar
  • AN/SLQ-32
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System
  • 2 SRBOC/ 2 x NULKA countermeasures chaff/rapid decoy launchers
Armor: Ballistic protection for main gun
Aircraft carried: 2 x MH-65C Dolphin MCH, or 4 x VUAV or 1 x MH-65C Dolphin MCH and 2 x VUAV
Aviation facilities: 50-by-80-foot (15 m × 24 m) flight deck, hangar for all aircraft

The United States Coast Guard's National Security Cutter (NSC), also known as the Legend-class cutter and Maritime Security Cutter, Large, is the largest of several new cutter designs developed as part of the Integrated Deepwater System Program.[6]


The Legend-class cutters are the second longest of all U.S. Coast Guard cutters, behind the research icebreaker Healy, and will replace the twelve Hamilton-class cutters in service.[7] These cutters are envisioned by the Coast Guard as being able to undertake the entire range of the high endurance cutter roles with additional upgrades to make it more of an asset to the Department of Defense during declared national emergency contingencies.[8] These vessels can be used for intercepting suspect vessels, or for rescuing swimmers, fishery protection, maritime homeland security missions, counterterrorism, coastal patrol missions, defense operations and other military/naval operations, and can assist in mine warfare. To facilitate intercept missions, the Legend class can carry and launch both the Short Range Prosecutor and the Long Range Interceptor rigid hull inflatable boats.

The cutter has a rear-launching ramp, capable of launching and retrieving the two aft stored rigid-hulled inflatable boats while underway.[9][10] The NSC is built to about 90% military standards.[11] The NSC is designed to US Navy Damage Stability Criteria and to Level 1 Survivability standards.[12] The NSC has degaussing capability.[13] The cutters have a reduced Radar cross-section (RCS) which gives the cutters a higher degree of stealth over the past cutters.[14]

Combat suite[edit]

Legend-class cutters have increased data link bandwidth.[citation needed] The EADS North America TRS-3D radar system provides three-dimensional air and surface search functions and is used in the LCS program as well as the German Korvette 130 program.[15] The cutters are also equipped with the AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare (EW) system used in the DDG-51.[16] The Legend class is equipped with the same 220 rpm Bofors 57 mm gun as mounted on the USN's Littoral combat ships.[17] The Missile Defense duties are handled by the NULKA decoy systems, the MK 36 SRBOC decoy systems also used on the FFG-7 and CG-47 programs and the CIWS.[18] The combination of the Mk 110 and the Phalanx give the cutter's Anti-Surface capability, limited Air-Defense capability and the capability to provide naval gunfire support.[19] The sonar is reported as having mine and underwater swimmer location ability.[8] The cutters have space, weight, and power reserved for additional weapons and systems which includes mine warfare systems.[20] The NSC has a NBC detection and defense system to repel chemical, biological or radiological attacks and has wash-down systems.[21]


The first NSC, USCGC Bertholf, entered sea trials in February 2008.[22] She has been in service since August 2008, and is homeported at Coast Guard Island, Alameda, California. A second NSC, Waesche, is also homeported in Alameda in 2010.[23] Construction of Stratton - which now carries a crew of 123 - began in 2008 at Northrop Grumman's Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. The vessel was christened by first lady Michelle Obama on July 23, 2010, and released to the custody of the Coast Guard on September 2, 2011.[24] She is now in service in Alameda. Construction on the fourth NSC, Hamilton, began in 2011. The Fleet Mix Analysis (FMA) Phase 1 study in December 2009 called for nine NSCs,[25] but there are eight ships in the Program of Record and only seven hulls have been funded as of the FY2013-17 capital investment plan.[1] The NSC's proved their capability to perform naval operations during the 2012 RIMPAC exercises, where the USCGC Bertholf detected and tracked missile threats and also provided naval gunfire support for troops ashore during the training exercise, along with being able to move with other naval forces and being able to do other defense operations.[26]

Program issues[edit]

On 7 July 2009, the Government Accountability Office reported that delays in the NSC program are likely to result in "the loss of thousands of cutter operational days for conducting missions through 2017."[27] The GAO also reported that month that problems in the NSC program have delayed the OPC program by five years.[28] The program was also plagued by structural issues; the Coast Guard historically uses its cutters extensively, typically 180 days at sea a year, furthering the problem this will often be in North Pacific and North Atlantic waters that are some of the roughest seas in the Northern Hemisphere. As such, the stresses on the Cutters are expected to be very severe. Structural Analysis showed that some parts of the cutter could be expected to survive only 3 years. This has been addressed in cutter 752 on, with the first two cutters receiving reinforcements later.[29] WMSL-752, the Stratton, suffered corrosion and leaks within weeks of commissioning in 2012. Earlier ships have not had that problem so it may be the result of the Cathodic protection system being hooked up in reverse.

The delays and problems have led to cost increases. The latest USCG estimate for eight ships is $5,474m for an average cost of $684m but hull 8 is not currently funded;[1] the first six hulls cost $3,902m for an average of $650m/ship.[1] The sixth NSC cost $735m in FY2012/3.[1]


Huntington Ingalls Industries has proposed two "patrol frigates" for Navy use, based on the NSC hull.

Patrol Frigate 4501 is very similar to the NSC, the main differences being a modified stern ramp[30] and a knuckleboom crane replacing the overhead crane.[31] The crew is increased to 148,[30] and it was offered to the US Navy as a replacement for the Littoral Combat Ship;[31] the FY13 cost of an LCS was $446.3m compared to $735m for an NSC.[32]

Patrol Frigate 4921 is a more radical redesign with a crew of 141,[30] adding weapons and sensors at the expense of reducing range from 12,000 nautical miles (22,000 km) to 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km).[31] It adds a 12-cell Mk56 VLS launcher for ESSM air-defense missiles, just behind the main gun which is upgraded from 57mm to a 76 mm Super Rapid.[30] Two quad launchers for Harpoon (missile) anti-ship missiles and a triple launcher for torpedoes are added to the stern.[31] It retains the SeaRAM/Phalanx CIWS and 6 machine guns of other NSC variants.[30] The stern is closed in and houses a towed-array sonar;[31] there is a hull sonar for mine countermeasures and an ESM suite.[31] The original "National Patrol Frigate" concept had an AN/SPY-1F air-defense radar[33] but by 2012 the PF4921 was being shown with an Australian CEAFAR radar.[30]

Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Germany have also shown interest in NSC derivatives.[30]

Ship list[edit]

Ship Hull Number Builder Namesake Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport Status
Bertholf WMSL-750 Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf March 29, 2005 September 29, 2006 August 4, 2008 Alameda, CA Active in service
Waesche WMSL-751 Admiral Russell R. Waesche September 11, 2006 July 12, 2008 May 7, 2010 Alameda, CA Active in service
Stratton[34] WMSL-752 Captain Dorothy C. Stratton July 20, 2009 July 23, 2010 March 31, 2012 Alameda, CA Active in service
Hamilton[34][35] WMSL-753 Alexander Hamilton September 5, 2012 August 10, 2013 December 6, 2014 Charleston, SC Active in service
James[36] WMSL-754 Captain Joshua James May 17, 2013 May 3, 2014 August 8, 2015 Charleston, SC Active in service
Munro[34] WMSL-755 Signalman First Class Douglas A. Munro November 5, 2014 September 12, 2015 April 1, 2017 Alameda, CA Active In Service
Kimball[34] WMSL-756 Sumner I. Kimball March 4, 2016 December 17, 2016 Honolulu, HI Under construction
Midgett[34] WMSL-757 Chief Warrant Officer John A. Midgett, Jr. January 27, 2017 Honolulu, HI Under construction
Stone[37] WMSL-758 Commander Elmer F. Stone On order

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e O'Rourke, Ronald (14 February 2014). "Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress" (pdf). Congressional Research Service. pp. 5–7. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "MTU Powers Deepwater National Security Cutter". The world of Dieselman - MTU. 
  4. ^ "National Security Cutter: Program Profile". US Coast Guard. Retrieved 12 February 2017. 
  5. ^ "National Security Cutters". Defensemedianetwork. Retrieved 22 May 2017. With much more room on the national security cutter it becomes a considerably more capable platform, because if needed, more sensors and weapons can be added. 
  6. ^ "National Security Cutter (NSC)". Integrated Deepwater System Program. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  7. ^ "End Of An Era, USCG Retiring Hamilton Class Cutters -". 
  8. ^ a b John Pike. "Maritime Security Cutter, Large (WMSL) / National Security Cutter (NSC)". 
  9. ^ "Short Range Prosecutor (SRP)". Integrated Deepwater System Program. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  10. ^ "H770 DJ Short Range Prosecutor (technical specifications)" (PDF). Zodiac Group. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  11. ^ "COAST GUARD CUTTER PROCUREMENT". USCG. Retrieved 19 January 2017. 
  12. ^ "SPS for Integrated Deepwater System" (PDF). US Coast Guard. Retrieved 10 February 2017. 
  13. ^ "THE NATIONAL FLEET PLAN" (PDF). Department of the Navy and the US Coast Guard. Retrieved 19 January 2017. 
  14. ^ "The National Security Cutter: Enduring Presence for Core Missions" (PDF). Retrieved 21 May 2017.  External link in |website= (help)
  15. ^
  16. ^ "AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare (EW) system". 
  17. ^ "Error Page". 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "On patrol with Waesche: Firepower". US Coast Guard. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  20. ^ "NATIONAL SECURITY CUTTER Enhanced Oversight Needed to Ensure Problems Discovered during Testing and Operations Are Addressed" (PDF). Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  21. ^ "Proceedings August 2011 Vol. 137/8/1,302 : Page 18". USCG. 
  22. ^ "Bertholf Sea Trials on Flickr" Coast Guard News on Flickr
  23. ^ "Acquisition Directorate (CG-9)". 
  24. ^ "Real Estate". 
  25. ^ O'Rourke (31 Oct 12), page 26
  26. ^ "National Security Cutters Demonstrate Capabilities". Mark Faram, Defense Media Network. Retrieved 12 February 2017. 
  27. ^ "Coast Guard: Observations on the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget and Related Performance and Management Challenges" July 7, 2009 GAO
  28. ^ "Options for Combining the Navy's and the Coast Guard's Small Combatant Programs". Congressional Budget Office. 
  29. ^ John Pike. "National Security Cutter (NSC) Maritime Security Cutter, Large (WMSL)". 
  30. ^ a b c d e f g Mazumdar, Mrityunjoy (24 April 2012). "Patrol Frigate Concepts from Huntington Ingalls Industries Gain Traction Internationally". Defense Media Network. 
  31. ^ a b c d e f Fein, Geoff (25 April 2012). "HII seeks exports for redesigned NSC". Jane's Defence Weekly: 8. 
  32. ^ O'Rourke (31 Oct 12), pages 4 & 51
  33. ^ Ewing, Philip (13 April 2011). "The phantom frigate". Military Advantage (DODbuzz). 
  34. ^ a b c d e Susan Gvozdas "Coast Guard lays keel for NSC Stratton" July 21, 2009 Navy Times
  35. ^ "Ingalls Shipbuilding Launches Fourth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter". August 13, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Coast Guard cutter to be named for Joshua James". Compass. 
  37. ^ "Photo Release--Ingalls Shipbuilding Awarded $88.2 Million Advance Procurement Contract for a Ninth NSC". August 30, 2016. 

External links[edit]