Bollinger Shipyards has been awarded a $250 million contract to build six more Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) for the Coast Guard. Named after Coast Guard enlisted heroes, the Sentinel-class FRCs are replacing the aging Island-class 110′ patrol boats, also built by Lockport, La.-based Bollinger.
The six boats to be built by Bollinger will be homeported in Pascagoula, Miss.; Ketchikan, Alaska; and Honolulu. The main missions for the FRCs include port and waterway security; drug and illegal immigrant law enforcement; search and rescue; national-defense operations; and fishery patrols.
Powered by pairs of MTU 20V 4000 M93L diesel engines producing 2,900 hp each and turning fixed-pitch wheels, the new cutters must have a minimum endurance of five days at sea. The boats must also be capable of underway operations for a minimum of 2,500 hours annually, using the latest technologically advanced command, control, communications and computer technology that will be interoperable with Coast Guard assets.
Seven FRCs have been delivered to the Coast Guard, to date, beginning with the Bernard C. Webber, which was launched in April 2011.
Last month the Sentinel class completed the initial operational test and evaluation phase and this week the USCG obtained permission to move forward on the production and eventual deployment of up to 30 FRCs. This means the Coast Guard may continue to acquire the FRC as the budget allows and that the support equipment and shore side infrastructure is in place to support new cutters as they are commissioned. The Coast Guard ultimately plans to acquire up to 58 FRCs in total at a projected cost of $3.9 billion.
“Recent operational successes by delivered FRCs prove that this vessel’s enhanced capabilities are a ‘game changer’ for the Coast Guard,” said Chris Bollinger, president of Bollinger Shipyards.
In 2008, Bollinger was selected by the Coast Guard to design and construct up to 34 FRCs. The contract is worth up to $1.5 billion if all options are exercised, according to the Coast Guard.
“Bollinger is extremely pleased that the Coast Guard has awarded six additional Fast Response Cutters to our ongoing contract. This follow-on award will continue to provide hundreds of jobs for our employees and our Louisiana supplier network,” said Bollinger.