The U.S. Coast Guard has awarded two contracts totaling $129 million to Northrop Grumman Corporations Ships Systems sector for initial development and delivery of the Coast Guard’s first new National Security Cutter, part of the Coast Guard’s Deepwater program, which is aimed at replacing its aging offshore fleet. “The Coast Guard and the American people urgently need the Deepwater Program,” said Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. “The Department of Homeland Security is thrilled with the progress the Coast Guard has made to date with Deepwater. In less than one year since the award of the Deepwater contract, the Coast Guard has orders to start design work on the National Security Cutter; has begun the modernization of the 110’ patrol boats; and has initiated critical upgrades to an aging legacy fleet.” The Deepwater program will improve the Coast Guard’s overall mission performance and maritime homeland security capabilities. The National Security Cutter is part of the Coast Guard’s plan for achieving maritime domain awareness and pushing our borders further out to sea. “The Deepwater Program is vital to transforming the Coast Guard and ensuring the delivery of required capabilities needed for the performance of homeland security and other missions,” said Admiral Thomas Collins, Commandant of the Coast Guard. “The system of systems approach is the most prudent, cost effective, and efficient manner to transform the Coast Guard.” The Coast Guard’s Deepwater Program is the largest recapitalization effort in the 213-year history of the Coast Guard. The Integrated Deepwater System is a vital multi-year program to modernize and replace aging ships and aircraft that will be linked with state-of-the-art Command, Control, Communications and Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems supported by an integrated logistics regime. This mix of ships, airplanes, helicopters, and unmanned air vehicles ensures full interoperability while meeting the full range of Coast Guard missions, including homeland security. This multi-year, multi-billion dollar contract was awarded in June 2002 to Integrated Coast Guard Systems, an equal partnership between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. The contracts call for the completion of the designs for the cutter and the procurement of components that have a long production time. The detail design effort will be conducted at the New Orleans Engineering Center of Excellence, where the National Security Cutter’s preliminary and contract design phase was recently completed. Fabrication of the first NSC is planned to begin in mid-2004, with the ship delivery scheduled in 2006.