The Eastern Shipbuilding Group has just announced that it has begun cutting steel for the third of its latest USCG Off Shore Patrol Cutters. She will be called the USCGC Ingham and is being built at the ESG shipyards in Panama City, Florida.
These Off Shore Patrol Cutters (OPCs) are being built to bridge the capabilities of their current 270 ft and 210 ft. high endurance cutters and fast response, national security cutters. The national security cutters patrol the open ocean, while the national security, fast response cutters serve closer to shore. The Coast Guard is planning on purchasing 25 of these new OPCs for its fleet.
This new Heritage Class of cutters (OPCs) will each be able to deploy independently or as part of task groups with the USCG or the Navy. They will also be able to serve as a mobile command and control platform in surge operations like hurricanes or mass migration incidents, as well as other events. These OPCs will also be able to support Arctic efforts to regulate and protect emerging U.S. economic concerns.
These ships are built with multiple combat and communication capabilities. Each will be able to carry and deploy either MH-60 or MH-65 helicopters. They will carry three operational “Over the Horizon” small boats for boarding other ships, seizing drugs and other purposes. They are equipped with highly sophisticated combat systems and have a hybrid electric drive system.
These ships are 360 ft in length, have a beam of 54 ft and a draft of 17 ft. They are capable of sustaining a 22.5 knot pace and have a range of 10,200 nautical miles at 14 knots and will be able to operate for up to 60 days at a time.
This video of the USCG Boutwell, a high endurance cutter, will give you a sense of what the new Heritage class, Off Shore Cutters like the USCGC Ingham are replacing.
Semper Paratus, USCG!Whizzco