“Against the backdrop of great power competition, the polar security cutter is key to our nation’s presence in the polar regions,” said Admiral Karl L. Schultz, commandant of the Coast Guard. “With the strong support of both the Trump administration and the United States Congress, this contract award marks an important step towards building the nation's full complement of six polar icebreakers to meet the unique mission demands that have emerged from increased commerce, tourism, research, and international activities in the Arctic and Antarctic."

The acquisition of PSCs is being jointly managed by the Navy and Coast Guard through an Integrated Program Office (IPO) that leverages the expertise and utilizes best practices across each enterprise to deliver a fleet of highly capable, multimission ships in the most cost efficient and timely manner possible. NAVSEA is the lead contracting authority.

Caterpillar diesel electric package will contain the vessel's main engines, producing over 45,200 hp and the PSC will be capable of breaking ice 6' to 8' thick. The new cutter will be able to accommodate 188 personnel comfortably for an extended endurance of 90 days.

"This contract award reflects the great benefit achieved by integrating the incredible talents of U.S. Coast Guard and Navy acquisition and shipbuilding professionals to deliver best value at speed," said James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition. "Working with our industry partners, the team identified approximately $300 million in cost avoidances and accelerated the schedule for delivery of this capability to the nation by almost three years. This reflects the urgency in which we are operating to ensure we deliver capabilities necessary to support the U.S. Coast Guard and the nation’s missions in the polar regions."

Construction on the first PSC is planned to begin in 2021 with delivery planned for 2024, the second for 2025 and the third for 2027. However, the contract includes financial incentives for earlier delivery. If all options are exercised, work will continue through November 2027.