The following is text of a news release from Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG):
(PANAMA CITY, Fla.) — Eastern Shipbuilding Group reports that steel cutting for the second offshore patrol cutter (OPC), Coast Guard cutter Chase (WMSM 916), commenced on Monday at Eastern’s facilities. The cutting of steel started the fabrication and assembly of the cutter’s hull, and ESG is to complete keel laying of Chase in 2021. Additionally, ESG has commenced the placement of orders for long lead time materials for OPC No. 3, Coast Guard cutter Ingham (WMSM 917).
"Today marks a monumental event and reflects the dedication and resolve of our workforce to execute program milestones on time," said Eastern President Joey D’Isernia. "ESG is dedicated to the task of building the most sophisticated, highly capable ships for the Coast Guard. Today's success is the start of serial production of the OPCs at ESG by our dedicated team of shipbuilders and subcontractors for our customer and partner, the United States Coast Guard. We are excited for what will be a great 2020 for Eastern Shipbuilding Group and Bay County, Fla.”
The OPC is designed to conduct multiple missions in support of the nation’s maritime security and border protection. The OPC will provide a capability bridge between the national security cutter, which patrols the open ocean in the most demanding maritime environments, and the fast response cutter, which serves closer to shore. The OPC design includes the capability of carrying an MH-60R or MH-65 helicopter and three operational over-the-horizon small boats. The vessel is also equipped with a highly sophisticated combat system and C4ISR suite that will enhance capabilities to execute the service’s missions.
On Sept. 15, 2016, the Coast Guard exercised the option for detail eesign on Eastern Shipbuilding Group’s OPC contract. Eastern Shipbuilding Group will construct the offshore patrol cutters to replace the medium endurance cutters currently in service. The contract includes the production of up to four vessels.