Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced (April 7, 2015) the successful completion of builder’s sea trials for the company’s fifth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter (NSC), USCGC Joshua James (WMSL-754). The ship, built at HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division, spent three days in the Gulf of Mexico testing all of the ship’s systems.
«Any time we get the opportunity to take a new ship to sea, it is always something special, and this trip was no exception», said Jim French, Ingalls’ NSC program manager. «Our shipbuilding team continues to incorporate learning from ship to ship, making this a very stable program across the board. We’ve got a good NSC core team who work the same areas of each ship, and we are seeing the benefits associated with this serial production. It’s the most affordable way to build a class of ships».
Ingalls’ test and trials team led the sea trials and conducted extensive testing of the propulsion, electrical, damage control, anchor handling, small boat operations and combat systems. This culminated in the successful completion of a four-hour, full-power propulsion run on James.
«Our Ingalls/Coast Guard team worked tirelessly during the three days, and the ship performed well», said Richard Schenk, Ingalls’ vice president, program management and test and trials. «The Ingalls operating crew performed more than 180 events and handled each one with the utmost professionalism. It is obvious to all who sailed on builder’s trials that NSC 5 is ready for her acceptance trials at the end of April».
Ingalls has delivered four NSCs and has three more, including James, under construction. A construction contract was just awarded for an eighth NSC last week.
The ship is named to honor Captain Joshua James, one of the world’s most celebrated lifesavers. His lifesaving experience began at age 15 when he joined the Massachusetts Humane Society. Over the years, he was credited for saving more than 600 lives until the time of his death at age 75. He was on duty with the U.S. Life-Saving Service, which later merged into the U.S. Coast Guard. «The NSC team is extremely efficient in everything they do, and they proved it this week», said Jim McKinney, Ingalls’ NSC program director. «We start every ship with the goal for it to be better than the last one, and the men and women working in this program have not disappointed. The Coast Guard will be getting an awesome ship when we deliver James in June».
National Security Cutters (NSCs), the flagships of the Coast Guard’s cutter fleet, are designed to replace the 378-foot/115-m Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters, which entered service during the 1960s. NSCs are 418 feet/127 m long with a 54-foot/16-m beam and displace 4,500 long tons with a full load. They have a top speed of 28 knots/32 mph/52 km/h, a range of 12,000 nautical miles/22,224 km, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 120.
The Legend-class NSC is capable of meeting all maritime security mission needs required of the high-endurance cutter. The cutter includes an aft launch and recovery area for two Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) and a flight deck to accommodate a range of manned and unmanned rotary-wing aircraft. It is the largest and most technologically advanced class of cutter in the Coast Guard, with robust capabilities for maritime homeland security, law enforcement, marine safety, environmental protection and national defense missions. The Legend-class of cutters plays an important role in enhancing the Coast Guard’s operational readiness, capacity and effectiveness at a time when the demand for their services has never been greater.
Displacement: 4,500 long tons
Length: 418 feet/127 m
Beam: 54 feet/16 m
Speed: 28 knots/32 mph/52 km/h
Range: 12,000 NM/22,224 km
Endurance: 60 days
Equipped with: Mk-110 57-mm turret mounted gun; 6 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber machine guns; 3D air search radar; 2 level 1, class 1 aircraft hangers; A stern launch ramp for mission boats