On Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard announced its massive but troubled 25-ship Offshore Patrol Cutter program will be restructured.
With a total value of $10.5 billion, the Offshore Patrol Cutter (formally known as the Heritage (WMSM 915) class cutter) is a top Coast Guard procurement priority. The contract to build these mid-sized 3,500- to 3,700-ton cutters was awarded in 2016 to a scrappy underdog, Florida-based Eastern Shipbuilding Group. After restructuring, the Coast Guard will now only offer Eastern Shipbuilding options to build four of these $421 million vessels, and the rest– 21 ships–will likely be put out to bid.
The news has roiled America’s naval shipbuilding community. The Coast Guard’s dramatic move has saved the Offshore Patrol Cutter Program.