USCGC Bertholf

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USCG National Security Cutter BERTHOLF (WMSL-750).jpeg
USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750)
United States
Namesake: Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf, USCG
Ordered: January 2001
Builder: Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Pascagoula, Mississippi
Cost: $641 million[1]
Laid down: March 29, 2005
Launched: September 29, 2006
Christened: November 11, 2006
Commissioned: August 4, 2008
Homeport: Integrated Support Command Alameda
Motto: "Legends Begin Here"
Status: Active
General characteristics
Displacement: 4500 LT
Length: 418 feet (127.40 meters)
Beam: 54 feet (16.46 meters)
Draft: 22.5 feet (6.86 meters)
Speed: 28+ knots
Range: 12,000 nm
Complement: 113 (14 officers + 99 enlisted) and can carry up to 167 depending on mission[3]
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 launcher
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

USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750) is the first Legend class maritime security cutter of the United States Coast Guard. She is named for Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf, fourth Commandant of both the Revenue Cutter Service and Coast Guard.

In 2005, construction began at Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was launched on September 29, 2006,[4] christened November 11, 2006,[5] and commissioned on August 4, 2008. The cutter's home port is Alameda, California. Bertholf was the first to fire the Bofors 57 mm gun aboard a U.S. vessel on the 11th of February 2008.[1]

Operational history[edit]

On March 3, 2016, Bertholf responded to a sighting off the Pacific Coast of Panama of a semi-submersible narco-submarine, reported by a P-3 Orion.[6] The semi-submersible surrendered to a boarding party launched from Bertholf, and four suspects were captured along with 6 tons of cocaine.[7] The boarding party then sank the semi-submersible.[8] During the 2012 RIMPAC exercises Bertholf detected and tracked missile threats and also provided naval gunfire support for troops ashore during the training exercise, demonstrating the capability of moving with other naval forces and being able to perform other defense operations.[9]

Legend-class cutter[edit]

Bertholf is the lead ship of the Legend-class cutter design and the first large ship to be built under the Coast Guard's multi-year Deepwater acquisitions project. The NSCs are to replace the fleet's aging 1960s era 378-foot Hamilton-class cutters.


  • Automated weapon systems
  • Medium-caliber deck gun (57 mm) capable of stopping rogue merchant vessels far from shore[10]
  • Helicopter launch and recovery pad with rail-based aircraft retrieval system and two aircraft hangars
  • Stern launching ramp for small boat launch and recovery
  • Bow thruster
  • State-of-the-art C4ISR improving interoperability between Coast Guard and Department of Defense assets[11]
  • Detection and defense capabilities against chemical, biological, or radiological attack
  • Advanced sensors for intelligence collection and sharing
  • Real-time tracking and seamless common operational picture/maritime domain awareness via integration with Rescue 21
  • Advanced state-of-the-art Ships Integrated Control System (machinery control, steering, navigation) for reduced manpower requirements and improved automation
  • Cassidian (EADS) TRS-3D/16-ES air search radar for area surveillance[12]
  • The cutter can have an anti-terrorism/force protection suite that will include underwater sonar that will allow the cutter to scan ports, approaches, facilities and high-value assets for underwater mines and minelike devices and detect swimmers.



  1. ^ USCG National Security Cutters: Bad News, Good News
  2. ^ Dieselmann Wordpress
  3. ^ "National Security Cutter: Program Profile". US Coast Guard. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  4. ^ Integrated Coast Guard Systems - Deepwater Program Official Website Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ USCG: Acquisition Directorate (CG-9)
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "National Security Cutters Demonstrate Capabilities". Mark Faram, Defense Media Network. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Maritime Security Cutter, Large (WMSL)". Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  11. ^ National security cutter approved for classified operations
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-09-24. Retrieved 2012-03-05.

External links[edit]