Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) launched the 418'x54' Legend-class national security cutter Calhoun (WMSL 759) on Saturday, April 2 at the company’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division. Launching Calhoun is the first of a series of significant milestone events in bringing the ship to life.
“The national security cutters are critically important to the safety and security of our country,” Kari Wilkinson, president of HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division, said in his prepared remarks. “I am very proud of our NSC team who continues to build efficiencies into a mature program line to deliver the Coast Guard’s most advanced cutters. Our shipbuilders are proud and honored to build these magnificent ships, and we know that this ship named after the first Master Chief Petty of the Coast Guard, Charles L. Calhoun, has special meaning for the U.S. Coast Guard.”
With the assistance of tugs, Calhoun came off the floating drydock Saturday, after first being translated via Ingalls’ rail car system. The dock was moved away from the pier and then ballasted to float off the ship.
Main propulsion for the NSC comes from twin MTU 20V 1163 diesel engines and a GE LM2500 gas turbine that combine for a total of 39,900 hp and give the ship a running speed of 28 knots. Ship’s service power is the responsibility of three Caterpillar 3512B gensets.
Ingalls Shipbuilding is the sole designer and provider of the Coast Guard Legend-class national security cutter, which costs on average about $670 million. NSCs, which have 22'6" drafts, are capable of embarking and supporting a wide range of Coast Guard, Navy and NATO manned and unmanned aircraft. NSCs have proven to be ideal platforms for drug interdiction, global illegal fishing, disaster relief and defense support operations.
Ingalls has delivered nine Legend-class NSCs, and two more are under construction. In November of 2020, the ninth NSC, Stone (WMSL 758), was delivered to the Coast Guard and proceeded to conduct an unprecedented 68-day shakedown patrol, which resulted in a drug bust within two weeks of sail away and an extensive illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing enforcement patrol off the coast of South America. Calhoun, the 10th NSC, is scheduled to be christened at Ingalls Shipbuilding in June 2022 and expected to be delivered in early 2023.