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ESG holds keel laying ceremony for the USCGC Chase.

| 2021

According to a press release published by Eastern Shipbuilding Group on May 26, 202, ESG hosted the keel authentication ceremony for the U.S. Coast Guard’s future Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), USCGC CHASE (WMSM916), at the Nelson Street facility.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The next U.S. Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), USCGC Chase (Picture source:MyPanhandle)

Admiral Karl Schultz, the 26th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, and Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chair and ship sponsor delivered remarks to mark the occasion along with ESG President Joey D’Isernia.

The keel authentication, also known as keel laying, represents the ceremonial start of a ship’s life by commemorating the assembly of the initial modular construction units. Historically, to attest that the keel was properly laid and of excellent quality, the shipbuilder would carve their initials into the keel. This practice is commemorated by welding the ship’s sponsor’s initials into the keel authentication plate.

Last month, ESG was awarded contract modifications to begin construction of hull three, future USCGC Cutter INGHAM, and to purchase long lead materials for hull four. 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.

The Heritage-class cutter, also known as the Offshore Patrol Cutter designed perform various Coast Guard missions which include but are not limited to PWCS (Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security), Defense Operations, Maritime Law Enforcement (Drug/migrant interdiction and other Law Enforcement), Search and Rescue, Marine Safety, and environment protection. For Defense Operations the WMSM will meet a range of roles from Theater Security Cooperation to deploying with an Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) or supporting a combatant commander in various ways. The cutters will also support Arctic operations.

The combat suite of Heritage-class cutter includes Saab Sea Giraffe AN/SPS-77 multi-mode medium range naval radar system provides three-dimensional air and surface search functions. The multi-mode naval radar also provides Gun Weapon System cueing and supports the cutters self-defense and limited air defense capability. The cutters is also equipped with the AN/SLQ-32C(V)6 Electronic Warfare System, which is a scaled down and lower cost version of the AN/SLQ-32(V)6 SEWIP Block 2 system.

The Heritage-class cutter is equipped with the same 220 rpm Bofors 57 mm gun as mounted on the USN's Littoral combat ships and the USCG's Legend class cutters. The Missile Defense duties are handled by the MK 53 decoy systems also used on the Legend class cutters. The Heritage class cutters weapon and defense systems provide Anti-Surface capability, limited Air-Defense Capability, and the capability to provide naval gunfire support. The cutter is also armed with two .50 caliber machine guns and one Mk 38/Mk 110 25mm gun to provide protection against fast attack craft.

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