Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Walt Probst
, the test officer for PMRO Gulf Coast
, pushes the button to start the LM2500 gas turbine engine aboard Bertholf (WMSL 750). Observing the moment when the first of the ship's three engines comes to life are (left to right) National Security Cutter program specialist Leo Tallent
, test electrician Jeff Cwiok
, test electrician Mike Asiala
and Jim French
, National Security Cutter deputy program manager.
The Northrop Grumman (NOC)
-built U.S. Coast Guard National Security
(WMSL 750) reached a significant milestone Aug. 7 as the first of its three main engines was brought to life. Known as gas turbine engine light
off, the procedure was an initial operational test of Bertholf's combined diesel and gas turbine propulsion system. Dozens of shipbuilders from several crafts, working at the company's Ship Systems sector, tested and completed a lengthy checklist of major subsystems leading up to gas turbine engine light
Bertholf will be the largest multi-mission cutter in the Coast
Guard fleet once it officially enters service. With an intercept speed of 28 knots, Bertholf is expected to greatly enhance the Coast Guard's responsibilities in homeland security and national defense.
Work on Bertholf is progressing on schedule. As each milestone is met, personnel involved in the ship's construction meet to discuss "lessons learned." Good practices, as well as opportunities for improvement, are noted and applied to the construction process of the next ship in the series, USCGC Waesche (WMSL 751). Through lessons learned on Bertholf, work on the Waesche has improved significantly, moving thousands of hours of work from the integration area â€“ where ship sections are joined -- into the shop areas, allowing work to be accomplished earlier in the process, more efficiently and at a reduced cost to the Coast Guard.
In addition, the Bertholf is the first ship to be constructed using a new shipyard configuration in Pascagoula. The Bertholf and the Waesche are being constructed side by side, making it easy for personnel to access both ships for comparison and/or referencing activities. The new shipyard configuration also allows tests and trials to be conducted on the ships without relocating them.
Shipbuilders continue to work on the 418 ft. ship in preparation for sea trials and delivery in the coming months.