On Friday Eastern Shipbuilding Group christened and launched the 95' Argus, the Coast Guard's first Heritage-class offshore patrol cutter (OPC). The ceremony was held at Eastern's Nelson St. Shipyard in Panama City, Fla.
Adm. Linda Fagan, commandant of the Coast Guard, delivered the keynote address.
"We are proud to christen this first-of-class national security asset in front of her crew," said Joey D'Isernia, CEO of Eastern. "With each milestone we reach, our employees are constructing the most advanced and capable ship the U.S. Coast Guard has ever seen."
"The offshore patrol cutter is one of the service's highest acquisition priorities and is absolutely vital to recapitalizing the capability provided by our legacy fleet of 210-foot and 270-foot medium endurance cutters," said Adm. Fagan.
Over 1,500 highly skilled craft employees and program professionals at Eastern and 200 businesses from more than 25 states are supporting the production of the first four OPCs in Panama City.
The OPC is designed to conduct an array of missions including law enforcement, drug and migrant interdiction, search and rescue, disaster relief, and other homeland security and defense operations in support of the nation's maritime security and border protection. The OPC design includes the capability of carrying an MH-60R or MH-65 helicopter and three operational over-the-horizon small boats. The vessel is also equipped with a highly sophisticated Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) suite that will greatly enhance the Coast Guard's mission capabilities.
The first OPC is named for the Revenue Cutter Argus, which was one of the first 10 ships assigned to the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, a predecessor service to the Coast Guard. The Revenue Cutter Argus began 13 years of service in 1791.