Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: Heritage and Offshore Patrol Cutter
Origin: United States of America
Bath Iron Works, Eastern Shipbuilding Group* and Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (*) lead contractor
Parent System: OPC
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2021
Total Production: 25
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Description: The Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) is a highly capable, cutting-edge, medium endurance cutter designed to replace aging medium endurance cutters owned by the US Coast Guard under the Integrated Deepwater Systems program. The new vessels with a mission endurance of 45 days will complement the larger National Security Cutters which can perform 90-day missions. Northrop-Grumman Ship Systems along with partners from Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS) team are responsible for OPC vessels design and construction. Up to 25 OPCs are planned for procurement by the Coast Guard.
The key design elements of this new medium endurance cutter are adaptability, multi-mission capability with a C4ISR electronics package and suitability for sustained, intensive small boat and flight operations in support of law enforcement, defense and search & rescue missions. OPCs will provide air surveillance with helicopters and unmanned air vehicles; increased situational awareness through an integrated C4ISR capability; improved force protection and automated armament such as an Mk 110 57mm deck gun; and improved defenses for operating in chemical, biological, or radiological contaminated environments. The propulsion system will consist of four diesel engines.
The go ahead decision for the OPC cutter was announced in June 2004 with an entry into date service for the first vessel several years before 2012, estimated by 2007. The 360-foot (120 meters) OPC vessel will share equipment and capabilities with the National Security Cutter (NSC). As of January 2008, the US Coast Guard was still re-evaluating the mission requirements for the OPC with the entire program to remain on hold.
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