Coast Guard Cutters Reach Construction Milestones

Tuesday, September 11, 2007
The stern is landed on NSC 2. The lift marks the 34th unit erected on board Waesche.

Northrop Grumman Corporation reached construction milestones on two U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutters (NSCs), maintaining the production flow of the nation's newest homeland security maritime assets.

The two ships, USCGC Bertholf (WMSL 750) and USCGC Waesche (WMSL 751), are being constructed at the company's Ship Systems operation in Pascagoula. On Bertholf, which stands at 90 percent complete, the two main propulsion diesel engines completed a successful light-off. Following this accomplishment, the stern assembly was erected onto Waesche, which stands at 33 percent complete.

The Bertholf light-off was the second phase in an operational test of the ship's combined diesel and gas turbine propulsion system. The gas turbine engine light-off was completed in early August. The Coast Guard will use the diesel engines to conduct the majority of the NSC's operations. The gas turbine engine will be used primarily for high speed and intercept operations.

The next scheduled events for Waesche include the erection of the forward and aft superstructure grand blocks, followed by the upper bow unit. Only five lifts remain to complete the structure of the Waesche.

The design for the National Security Cutter has evolved since it was proposed in 2002 to meet additional, homeland security-specific requirements identified by the Coast Guard for operations in a post-9/11 operating environment. These include chemical, biological and radiological facilities, a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, and more robust aviation installations, among others.

Each NSC will be 418 ft. long with a 4,300 ton displacement at full load, and operate at a maximum speed of 28 knots. The cutter will include a stern launch and recovery area for two rigid hull inflatable boats, a flight deck, and state-of-the-art command and control systems. In addition, the cutter features improved habitability and a sailor-centric design to facilitate optimized crewing and enhance onboard quality of life.

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