Offshore Patrol Cutter

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An early artist's conception of the Offshore Patrol Cutter, prior to dropping the stern launching ramp.

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) Offshore Patrol Cutter also known as the Maritime Security Cutter, Medium, was one design among several new cutter designs developed as part of the Integrated Deepwater System Program.[1]

The winning design for the Offshore Patrol Cutter submitted by Eastern Shipbuiding.

The cutter was originally proposed to include two rear-launching ramps, each capable of launching and retrieving a RHIB (rigid-hull inflatable boat), without first stopping.[2][3] Unlike smaller cutters, like the Marine Protector, the Offshore Patrol Cutter and the National Security Cutter will be able to launch and retrieve both the Short Range Prosecutor and the larger Long Range Interceptor. The RHIBs will be used for intercepting suspect vessels, or for rescuing swimmers. Both RHIB types are propelled by diesel powered water jets. The WMSM will be built to ABS naval vessel rules with CG modification.[4] The WMSM will have the ability to install additional equipment (Armament) and systems to augment its capabilities if it is required to conduct operations in higher threat environments in support of national security objectives or other missions.[5] The WMSM's construction will provide combat survivability against various threats, the WMSM will have the capability and equipment to escape from a CBRNE and/or TIC contaminated environment. The WMSM will meet a range of roles from Theater Security Cooperation to deploying with an Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG)

In 2010 and 2011 some commentators speculated that the entire program was vulnerable to cancellation on budgetary grounds, because of the long delay in finalizing a preliminary design.[6][7][8]

A bill passed by the United States Congress on November 15, 2011, imposed conditions on the Coast Guard's capital expenditures, that revolved around the design of the Offshore Patrol Cutter.[9]

By December 2011 plans for the cutter started to become more concrete.[10] Plans to include a stern launching ramp, as on the National Security Cutters and the Fast Response Cutters, had been eliminated on budgetary grounds.

In February 2014, the USCG announced that Bollinger Shipyards, Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc., and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works had been awarded design contracts for the OPC.[11] The Government Accountability Office denied contract appeals by VT Halter Marine and Ingalls Shipbuilding.[12]

In September 2016, Eastern Shipbuilding of Panama City, Florida, was awarded a $110.3 million contract to build the first Offshore Patrol Cutter with an option to purchase eight additional cutters.[13] [14] On October 15, 2016 the Coast Guard issued a notice to proceed with the detailed design of the Offshore Patrol Cutter to Eastern Shipbuilding.[15]

The first Offshore Patrol Cutter is expected to be delivered in Fiscal Year 2021.[16] In total, the 25-ship deal could be worth up to $10.5 billion.


  1. ^ "Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC)". Integrated Deepwater System Program. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  2. ^ "Short Range Prosecutor (SRP)". Integrated Deepwater System Program. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  3. ^ "H770 DJ Short Range Prosecutor (technical specifications)" (PDF). Zodiac Group. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  4. ^ "U. S. Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), Guide for Building and Classing Naval Vessels (NVR)" (PDF). Retrieved 10 November 2016. 
  5. ^ "Maritime security Cutter, Medium (WMSC), Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS" (PDF). Retrieved 10 November 2016. 
  6. ^ Colin Clark (2010-12-07). "Coasties May Lose Cutters to OMB". DoD buzz. Retrieved 2011-12-02. The program is in its infancy, which may be why OMB wants to cut it before any money starts flowing. Chris Cavas at Navy Times reported that the Coasties are talking to shipbuilders about the best technical and acquisition approaches for the ship. No contracts are due to be awarded for at least another year, so from OMB’s perspective this looks like the best time to save the most money. 
  7. ^ Craig Collins on April 27, 2011 (2011-04-27). "The Coast Guard's Offshore Patrol Cutter". Defense Media Network. Retrieved 2011-12-02. The reason rumors continue to swirl about the Coast Guard’s future Offshore Patrol Cutter — including recent speculation that the entire program was to be axed – may simply be that so little has been decided about what the cutter will actually look like. The OPC is a high-profile program, one of the most expensive and talked-about shipbuilding ventures in Coast Guard history, and people are curious. 
  8. ^ Robert Morrisson (2011-01-18). "Is the Palestinian Authority more worthy of funding than the Coast Guard?". David Caller. Retrieved 2011-12-03. The Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget has decided to reduce costs by cutting the U.S. Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter. 
  9. ^ David Perera (2011-11-28). "House Coast Guard authorization bill decommissions icebreaker within 3 years". Fierce Homeland Security. Retrieved 2011-12-03. Language in the bill would prevent the Coast Guard from starting production on a seventh NSC until it selects an Offshore Patrol Cutter design. The service released a draft specification for the OPCs to industry in May 2011 and is currently reviewing comments; Coast Guard officials said during an Oct. 13 press call that they couldn't say when they'll release a draft request for proposals. 
  10. ^ Stew Magnuson (December 2011). "Lean Fiscal Times Influence Design Of New Coast Guard Cutter Program". National Defense Magazine. Retrieved 2011-12-03. The Coast Guard has already made some budget-based decisions as far as what the ship will not feature. Gas turbine engines and a system to launch small boats from the stern are two ideas that have already been rejected, he said. 
  11. ^ CAVAS, CHRISTOPHER P. (14 February 2014). "3 Firms Win Design Contracts for New US Coast Guard Cutter". Gannett Government Media. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  12. ^ "GAO denies protest over Coast Guard patrol cutters". The Associated Press. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  13. ^ LaGrone, Sam (15 September 2016). "Eastern Shipbuilding Wins Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter Award; Bests BIW, Bollinger". USNI News. 
  14. ^ LaGrone, Sam (21 September 2016). "Coast Guard Ready for Possible Offshore Patrol Cutter Protest". USNI News. Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  15. ^ "USCG: Offshore Patrol Cutter". Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  16. ^ "USCG: Acquisition Directorate News". Retrieved 2017-02-17. 

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