The U.S. Coast Guard has awarded a contract to Bollinger Shipyards LLC to build up to 26 Sentinel-class fast response cutters.

The initial value of the award is $318.6 million, which covers the production of six cutters. If the full 26-vessel option is exercised, the potential value of the contract jumps to $1.42 billion.

The award is Phase II of the FRC acquisition program. Bollinger has built and delivered 17 FRCs as part of Phase I, most recently the Donald Horsley on March 5.

The 154’x25’x9’6” Sentinel-class cutter, the newest generation of Coast Guard patrol cutters, is a replacement for the Island-class cutters that Bollinger built more than three decades ago.

“Our relationship with the Coast Guard began over 30 years ago and we are proud to continue building on that legacy,” said Bollinger CEO Ben Bordelon. “This is a testament to the skilled Louisiana-based team of Bollinger employees.”

The Coast Guard is building the FRCs to upgrade its near-offshore patrol capabilities for missions such as drug and migrant interdiction; ports, waterways and coastal security; fishery patrols; search and rescue; and national defense.

To date, 16 Bollinger-built FRCs are in service: six in Miami; six in Key West, Fla.; and four in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Donald Horsley is scheduled for commissioning in May.