The fourth National Security Cutter, Hamilton, successfully completed several days of rigorous acceptance trials Thursday to ensure the cutter meets its contractual requirements and is ready for delivery to the Coast Guard.
The Hamilton, which will be home ported in Charleston, S.C., conducted the acceptance trials in Pascagoula, Miss., and at sea in the Gulf of Mexico by the Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey.
Acceptance trials are the final significant milestone, or final exam, before the government takes ownership of a new cutter. Representatives from the Board of Inspection and Survey inspected all of Hamilton’s systems, tested its shipboard equipment, examined the quality of the cutter’s construction and evaluated its performance and compliance with the contractual specifications to identify any noteworthy deficiencies that need to be corrected prior to delivery.
“Hamilton's acceptance trials demonstrated that Ingalls shipyard has built a superb ship that will endure for many decades,” said. Capt. Douglas Fears, prospective commanding officer of the Hamilton. “The exceptional craftsmanship in Hamilton will soon be met by the extremely talented Coast Guard men and women that will breathe life into this great ship. We are very excited to get Hamilton to sea and make the cutter's home in Charleston.”
The Board of Inspection and Survey will soon make a formal recommendation regarding the cutter’s acceptance to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard will work with the shipbuilder, Huntington Ingalls Industries, during the next few weeks to adjudicate identified discrepancies prior to Hamilton’s acceptance. Hamilton is scheduled to be delivered to the Coast Guard in mid-September.
Hamilton’s builder’s trials earlier this summer resulted in no major issues with the cutter’s important command, control, communications and computers systems.
The ship is named in honor of Alexander Hamilton, who articulated the need for the Revenue Cutter Service in The Federalist Papers and then established it as the first Secretary of Treasury, the forerunner of today's U.S. Coast Guard. It is the sixth Coast Guard cutter to bear the name Hamilton.
Hamilton is the fourth of eight planned NSC’s and the first to be home ported on the East Coast. At 418' and 4,500 tons, the lead ship in the new Legend-class of national security cutters and is designed to be the flagship of the U.S. Coast Guard’s fleet, capable of executing the most challenging maritime security missions including supporting the mission requirements of U.S. combatant commanders.
The fifth NSC, James, and sixth, Munro, are currently in production at Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula. The James was christened on Saturday and will ultimately be home ported in Charleston with Hamilton. Fabrication of the Munro officially commenced Oct. 7, 2013.
The production contract for the seventh NSC, Kimball, was awarded to Huntington Ingalls Industries on March 31, 2014.
The largest and most technologically advanced of the Coast Guard’s newest classes of cutters, the NSCs replace the aging 378' High Endurance Cutters, which have been in service since the 1960s. Compared to legacy cutters, the NSCs’ design provides better sea-keeping and higher sustained transit speeds, greater endurance and range, and the ability to launch and recover small boats from astern, as well as aviation support facilities and a flight deck for helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.