The US Coast Guard has further narrowed the field in its quest to find a contractor to design and build its next generation of Offshore Patrol Cutters. Three companies, Bollinger Shipyards, Eastern Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, will receive US$22 million to produce preliminary and contract designs for the medium-endurance vessel. Each of the contenders is working in partnership with multi-nationals. Bollinger is teamed with Damen and design firm Gibbs & Cox, Eastern with STX Marine and Northrop Grumman, and BIW with Navantia.
The corvette-size ships will bridge the capability gap between the frigate-size National Security Cutters and patrol boat size Fast Response Cutters. They will offer increased range and endurance, a larger flight deck, and improved interoperability than the ageing Famous and Reliance classes.