Tag Archives: Heritage Class

Offshore Patrol Cutters

Austal Limited is pleased to announce Austal USA has been awarded a contract with a potential value of US$3.3 billion (A$4.35 billion), for the detail design and construction of up to 11 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPC) for the United States Coast Guard (USCG).

USCGC Argus (WMSM-915)
Austal USA will build up to 11 × 110 metre/36 × 361 feet Offshore Patrol Cutters for the United States Coast Guard (Image: US Coast Guard)

The first vessel has been contracted by the U.S. Coast Guard, with options for a further 10 vessels.

Construction is expected to commence in 2023.

Construction of the 110-metre/361-foot OPC’s will take place at Austal USA’s new US$100 million steel shipbuilding facility in Mobile, Alabama.

Although the OPC contract has been awarded in FY2023, the contract award will positively impact some cost assumptions used to calculate Austal’s FY2022 earnings before interest and tax (EBIT). Therefore, Austal expects its FY2022 EBIT will be higher than the previously forecast $107 million. The Company is not yet in a position to quantify the extent of the EBIT uplift and will inform shareholders as soon as the higher EBIT is calculated.

Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the new contract was the third steel shipbuilding program awarded to Austal USA and acknowledged the expanded capability of the shipyard.

«The United States Coast Guard’s new Offshore Patrol Cutters are an outstanding opportunity for Austal USA to further demonstrate the shipyard’s new steel shipbuilding capability; based on years of proven construction experience through the delivery of the LCS and EPF programs for the United States Navy», Mr. Gregg said. «The Offshore Patrol Cutters are a critical capability in the United States’ homeland security and the Coast Guard’s most important acquisition program, and the Austal USA team is very excited and proud to be delivering this major shipbuilding program for the USA».

Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh said: «This contract award is the result of our continued investment in our people and our facilities. We are thrilled for the opportunities this will bring to our local community and our tremendous supplier base, as this program will provide our shipbuilding team the stability for continued growth».

The Coast Guard’s 110 metre/361 feet steel OPCs provide a capability bridge between the service’s National Security Cutters, that operate in the open ocean, and the smaller, Fast Response Cutters that operate closer to shore. The new OPCs are capable of conducting a variety of missions including law enforcement, drug and migrant interdiction, and search and rescue operations.

With a range of 10,200 nautical miles/11,738 miles/18,890 km at 14 knots/16 mph/26 km/h and a 60-day endurance period, each OPC will be capable of deploying independently, or as part of task groups, and serving as a mobile command and control platform for surge operations such as hurricane response, mass migration incidents and other emergency events. The Cutters will also support Arctic objectives by helping regulate and protect emerging commerce and energy exploration in Alaska.

Austal USA will construct the OPC using its proven ship manufacturing processes and innovative methods that incorporate lean manufacturing principles, modular construction, and moving assembly lines in the company’s new state-of-the-art enclosed steel production facility.

With the award of the OPC, Austal USA is executing a myriad of shipbuilding programs for the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard; with construction continuing on the aluminum Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport (T-EPF) programs and the steel hulled Navajo-class Towing, Salvage and Rescue (T-ATS) ships and Auxiliary Floating Drydock Medium under contract for the United States Navy.

This ASX announcement has been approved and authorised for release by Paddy Gregg, Austal Limited’s Chief Executive Officer.

Steel Cutting for Ingham

On Monday, September 27, 2021, Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. (ESG) commenced construction of United States Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Ingham (WMSM-917) – Hull 3 of the Heritage Class Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) program. The occasion was observed by leaders of the United States Coast Guard Project Resident Office at ESG’s Allanton Shipyard where the first steel plates were cut by ESG personnel in the 103,000 sq feet/9,569 sq meters steel and aluminum processing facility and transferred to the Nelson Street Shipyard for assembly and construction.

USCGC Ingham (WMSM-917)
Eastern Shipbuilding Group Announces Commencement of Steel Cutting for USCGC Ingham (WMSM-917)

This milestone is yet another signal of growing momentum in the OPC program. The lead OPC, USCGC Argus (WMSM-915), is nearly fully assembled and remains on schedule and on budget. In May 2021, the keel was laid for the second OPC, USCGC Chase (WMSM-916), and all long lead time materials have been ordered for USCGC Hull 4.

«We are excited to begin the construction of USCGC Ingham (WMSM-917), the third vessel of the Heritage Class OPC program», said Joey D’Isernia, President of Eastern Shipbuilding Group. «Our dedicated workers and subcontractors are delivering exceptional quality and speed every day. It is our highest priority to get these superior vessels to the men and women of the USCG so that they can carry out their important missions around the globe with greater capability and effectiveness. Our track record of consistent government shipbuilding execution and unmatched quality has given our customer the confidence they needed to bring yet another vessel onto the production line. Our forward momentum continues to increase on this program and our recent investments in our people and our facilities will ensure that the men and women of the USCG receive these critical assets on the shortest timeline possible with the highest level of quality».

ESG fully rebuilt its operational facilities following Hurricane Michael in 2018 and also expanded them with over $42.5 million in infrastructure improvement investments. ESG dedicated its Nelson Street Shipyard exclusively to the USCG OPC program to ensure an unimpeded and hot production line experienced in constructing OPCs. The company has completed a launchway conversion and is making associated dredging investments at the yard to have a facility capable of launching and delivering two OPC sized vessels per year. At its Allanton Shipyard, ESG has constructed a state-of-the-art Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber-defense, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Production Facility to accomplish testing and integration of operational combat systems, equipment, and simulators on premises prior to final installation on the vessel. Later this year, ESG will commission a new aluminum superstructure fabrication and assembly hall at its Nelson Street facility.

The OPC is designed to conduct multiple missions in support of the nation’s maritime security and border protection. The OPC will provide a capability bridge between the national security cutter, which patrols the open ocean in the most demanding maritime environments, and the fast response cutter, which serves closer to shore. The OPC design includes the capability of carrying an MH-60 or MH-65 helicopter and three operational Over The-Horizon small boats. The vessel is also equipped with a highly sophisticated combat system and C5ISR suite that will enhance capabilities to execute the service’s missions.



Number Planned 25
Displacement 4592.5 tons
Length 360 feet/109.7 m
Beam 54 feet/16.5 m
Draft 17 feet/5.2 m
Sustained Speed 22 Plus knots/25 mph/40.7 km/h
Range 8,500 Plus NM/9,781.6 miles/15742 km
Endurance 60 Days


Ship list

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USCGC Argus (WMSM-915) 04-28-2020 San Pedro, California
USCGC Chase (WMSM-916) San Pedro, California
USCGC Ingham (WMSM-917) Kodiak, Alaska
USCGC Rush (WMSM-918) Kodiak, Alaska
USCGC Pickering (WMSM-919) Newport, Rhode Island
USCGC Icarus (WMSM-920) Newport, Rhode Island
USCGC Active (WMSM-921)
USCGC Diligence (WMSM-922)
USCGC Alert (WMSM-923)
USCGC Vigilant (WMSM-924)
USCGC Reliance (WMSM-925)