USCGC Bertholf

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USCG National Security Cutter BERTHOLF (WMSL-750).jpeg
USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750)
United States
NamesakeCommodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf, USCG
OrderedJanuary 2001
BuilderNorthrop Grumman Ship Systems, Pascagoula, Mississippi
Cost$641 million[1]
Laid downMarch 29, 2005
LaunchedSeptember 29, 2006
ChristenedNovember 11, 2006
CommissionedAugust 4, 2008
HomeportIntegrated Support Command Alameda
Motto"Legends Begin Here"
StatusIn active service
General characteristics
Displacement4500 LT
Length418 feet (127 meters)
Beam54 feet (16 meters)
Draft22.5 feet (6.9 meters)
Speed28+ knots
Range12,000 nm
Complement113 (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
ArmorBallistic protection for main gun
Aircraft carried2 x MH-65C Dolphin MCH, or 4 x VUAV or 1 x MH-65C Dolphin MCH and 2 x VUAV
Aviation facilities50-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 11 February 2008.[6]

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.[7] The semi-submersible surrendered to a boarding party launched from Bertholf, and four suspects were captured along with 6 tons of cocaine.[8] The boarding party then sank the semi-submersible.[9] 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.[10]

On 25 March 2019, USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54), in concert with Bertholf transited the contested Taiwan Strait.[11] On 15 April of same year, the ship visited Hong Kong, the first Coast Guard vessel to do so in seventeen years.[12]

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[13]
  • 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[14]
  • 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[15]
  • 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 mine-like devices and detect swimmers.



  1. ^ "USCG National Security Cutters: Bad News, Good News". Defense Industry Daily. 11 September 2007. Archived from the original on 19 February 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  2. ^ "MTU Powers Deepwater National Security Cutter". The world of Dieselman. 30 January 2008. Archived from the original on 18 February 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  3. ^ "National Security Cutter: Program Profile". U.S. Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate. Archived from the original on 14 February 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  4. ^ "CGC Bertholf Is Launched". Integrated Coast Guard Systems. 29 September 2006. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  5. ^ "Photo Release – Bertholf Christening Honors U.S. Coast Guard's First National Security Cutter and Celebrates Recovery Milestone". Huntington Ingalls Industries. 11 November 2006. Archived from the original on 18 February 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  6. ^ U.S. Coast Guard (1 July 2008). "Full length feature of the USCGC Bertholf". YouTube. Archived from the original on 27 May 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Video: Coast Guard intercepts narco submarine". Marine Log. 28 March 2016. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Video of Coast Guard's $200 million cocaine bust off Panama released". Fox News. Associated Press. 29 March 2016. Archived from the original on 18 February 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  9. ^ Myers, Meghann (7 August 2017). "Coast Guard cutter busts fifth cocaine sub in less than a year". Navy Times. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  10. ^ Faram, Mark (1 May 2013). "National Security Cutters Demonstrate Capabilities". Defense Media Network. Archived from the original on 13 February 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  11. ^ "US Navy and Coast Guard Ships pass through strategic Taiwan Strait". Archived from the original on 25 March 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  12. ^ "隔牆有耳: 美防衞隊海巡艦17年來首訪港 - 李八方". Apple Daily 蘋果日報. Archived from the original on 2019-04-16. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  13. ^ "Maritime Security Cutter, Large (WMSL)". Archived from the original on 3 December 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  14. ^ Peters, Katherine McIntire (29 May 2009). "National security cutter approved for classified operations". Government Executive. Archived from the original on 18 February 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  15. ^ "TRS 3D - MSSR 2000I". Archived from the original on 24 September 2010. Retrieved 5 March 2012.

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