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Surface Forces: U.S. Coast Guard Running Out of Ships
   Next Article → PROCUREMENT: Guided 70mm Rocket Left to Die
March 25, 2007: For the second time in four months, the U.S. Coast Guard has experienced a major disaster in its shipbuilding programs. This time around, the Coast Guard was finally forced to admit defeat in its effort to build 58 new patrol ships (Fast Response Cutters.) The ship builders (Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman) screwed up, big time. While the Coast Guard shares some of the blame, for coming up with new concepts that didn't work out, the shipbuilders are the primary screwups because they are, well, the shipbuilding professionals, and signed off on the Coast Guard concepts. Now the Coast Guard is looking at buying an existing (off-the-shelf) design, and in a hurry. That's become urgent because of an earlier screw up.

 

Last December, the Coast Guard discovered that a ship upgrade program made the modified ships structurally unsound and subject to breaking up in heavy seas. All eight of the modified 123 foot cutters (as coast guard ships are called) have been removed from service after cracks were found in the hull and decks. The 123 foot "Island Class" ships used to be 110 feet long and displace 154 tons. After 13 feet were added to the hull length, ship displacement went to 166 tons. Crew size (16) didn't change, but top speed (53 kilometers an hour) was reduced five percent. The ships are armed with a 25mm cannon, and two 12.7mm machine-gun. The original plan was to spend $100 million to modify all 49 of the 110 foot ships, so as to extend their useful life (normally, 15 years) a bit, until a new class of cutters was built. The modification also added a rear ramp for launching a small boarding party boat.

 

The modification program was already in trouble for being behind schedule and over budget. Now the program is halted, and probably dead. This leaves the coast guard short of ships right now, and in danger of being in even more trouble over the next decade. The coast guard has 250 cutters, and the Island Class ships are a fifth of that. With the failure of the Fast Response Cutter program, the coasties have to really hustle to even get an off-the-shelf into service before many of their current ships are unfit for service.

 

 

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Nanheyangrouchuan       3/25/2007 4:17:01 PM
How possible would it be for the Coasties to buy from someone like the Dutch, Germans, Swedes or French?

Yes, it would be a big loss of face for US contractors, but they would be forced to mend their ways when faced with that kind of competition, it would also be a diplomatic boon for US/EU relations.

 
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perfectgeneral       3/25/2007 11:44:41 PM
I'd recomend the, longer, export version of the River Class OPV in service with the RN and supplied by Vosper Thornycroft, VT Marine.

VT has designed an export version of the River Class for deployment in a wide range of operations connected with Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) protection, including disaster relief, anti-pollution, firefighting, rescue work and interception.

The flexibility of the OPV design allows an overall increase in length by insertion of a midship section to accommodate additional crew, equipment and facilities. By making special provision to put the ship's propulsion and electrical machinery aft and all the normal crew accommodation in the forward section, the increase in overall length is achieved without a significant re-design.

The baseline export vessel includes a flight deck for land-based small / medium helicopters. The aviation facilities can be enhanced to handle larger helicopters or to provide storage and maintenance facilities for helicopters.

River Class - Naval Technology



 
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ens. jack       3/26/2007 1:43:52 PM
I would say start getting more of the US navy ships, like the cyclones they already borrowed. the navy has eight more of them they ain't likely to be using, so there's eigh, maybe some of the navy's surplus tugs or something could be modified.
 
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Herald1234    The US has some nasty littorals that our coast guard patrols.   3/26/2007 5:20:23 PM
Operating in the Bering Sea and in the Arctic as well as the Antartic as well as the Western Atlantic, I'd look to Denmark  or Russia before I'd look to Britain as a source for coast guard ships.

Herald
 
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stuuu28       4/2/2007 1:44:26 AM
How come the River class are specificaly designed to oparate around the Falklands (pretty nasty down there)a long time before servicing? I think it was 3 years before HMS Clyde would have to return for drydock??
 
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Herald1234       4/2/2007 11:25:50 AM
I said the Bering Sea as in the Aleutians. Different kettle of fish. FAR DIFFERENT. Not that the Falklands isn't bad enough, but North Atlantic rated ships can operate there. Remember what happened to RMS Titanic? Brittle steel and Artic  conditions did her in when she grounded on that iceberg. Same thing happened to Liberty ships on the Murmansk run and they didn't even hit icebergs. They just cracked and broke in two. Danes and Russians understand those dangers and historically built accordingly.. Britons[The British sent over a frigate to show us Colonials what was what in shipbuilding, and the ship took structure damage because her naval power plant was too much for her merchant hull standard scantling to handle the hull stress] and still apparently Americans[Deepwater Program] haven't  figured that out yet.

Herald

 
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Yimmy       4/2/2007 2:24:34 PM
I have always been under the impression that RN ships have actually been quite famous of having good sea ship qualities, be they not the best armoured or armed ships.  I have read that certain classes of our WWII cruisers, and later ships such as the Leanders were particularly famous in this regard.


 
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Herald1234    Type 12 frigates.   4/2/2007 4:26:07 PM
I think it was a Type 12 Frigate that had to be drydocked and repaired after attempting a full power North Atlantic transit, Yimmy.
 
British ships are not generally badly built-especially the Leanders which I regard as some of the finestn warships to ever slide into the water.
 
 
That covers some of the common myths regarding British warship construction.
 
There were some notable exceptions to the tradition, but generally the RN has always built to need rather than to supposed "technical" superiority and that has proven very RN successful.
 
It just is not the US tradition which is too build to the worst case expected. Two different attitudes, bothn successful reflect tw3o DIFFERENT naval traditions. The reason I wouldn't use Britain as the source of foreign naval source construction is that British hulls are just tough enough, but not overbuilt to withstand catastrophic conditions[USS Cole, USS Stark]. The Danes and the Russians build hulls more in line with the US naval shipbuilding philosophy; tougher hulls to meet tougher weather.
 
Herald
 
 
 
 
 
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B.Smitty       5/8/2007 8:46:26 AM

I'd recomend the, longer, export version of the River Class OPV in service with the RN and supplied by Vosper Thornycroft, VT Marine.



River's are WAAAY too big for this job.  The FRC is supposed to be around a 300 ton vessel.  Rivers are closer to 1700 tons. 

We need something closer to the the Aussie Armidale class or Danish Flyvefisken Class StanFlex 300 vessels. 




 
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