The Coast Guard marked its 227th birthday Friday with a congratulatory present: names for the new class of offshore patrol cutters.
The 360’x54’x17’ OPC-class will be capable of sustained speeds of 22.5 knots, with a 10,200 nautical mile range at 14 knots. Carrying three over the horizon (OTH) high speed craft and a helicopter, the cutters will bridge capabilities of the 418’ national security cutters — well known for their use of OTH boats and helicopters to interdict eastern Pacific — and the new 154′ fast response cutter class.
Construction of the first cutter, to be named the Argus, begins at Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Panama City, Fla., in 2018, for delivery in fiscal year 2021. The following cutters will be named:
The offshore patrol cutter will replace the service’s 270-foot and 210-foot medium endurance cutters. In announcing the names, Coast Guard officials called the OPC program their “highest investment priority.”
“The offshore patrol cutter will be the backbone of Coast Guard offshore presence and the manifestation of our at-sea authorities,” said Adm. Paul Zukunft, commandant of the Coast Guard. “It is essential to stopping smugglers at sea, for interdicting undocumented migrants, rescuing mariners, enforcing fisheries laws, responding to disasters and protecting our ports.”