US to beef up USCG Arctic capabilities

Paul Gunton
Paul Gunton
ShipInsight

24 April 2019


A new Polar Security Cutter (PSC) is to be constructed by US shipbuilder VT Halter Marine under a contract announced by the USCG and US Navy this week.

The initial award is valued at $745.9m and supports non-recurring engineering and detail design of the PSC class as well as procurement of long lead-time materials and construction of the first ship. The contract also includes options for the construction of two additional PSCs. If all options are exercised, the total contract value is $1.9bn. PSCs support a wide range of Coast Guard missions including search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, environmental response, and national defence missions.

The acquisition of Polar Security Cutters is being jointly managed across the US Navy and US Coast Guard through an IPO that leverages the expertise and utilises best practices across each enterprise to deliver a fleet of highly capable, multi-mission ships in the most cost-efficient and timely manner possible. NAVSEA is the lead contracting authority.

Construction on the first PSC is planned to begin in 2021 with delivery planned for 2024; however, the contract includes financial incentives for earlier delivery.

“Against the backdrop of great power competition, the Polar Security Cutter is key to our nation’s presence in the polar regions,” said Admiral Karl L Schultz, Commandant of the Coast Guard. “With the strong support of both the Trump Administration and the United States Congress, this contract award marks an important step towards building the nation's full complement of six polar icebreakers to meet the unique mission demands that have emerged from increased commerce, tourism, research, and international activities in the Arctic and Antarctic.”

"This contract award reflects the great benefit achieved by integrating the incredible talents of U.S. Coast Guard and Navy acquisition and shipbuilding professionals to deliver best value at speed," said James Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition. "Working with our industry partners, the team identified approximately $300 million in cost avoidances and accelerated the schedule for delivery of this capability to the nation by almost three years.

This reflects the urgency in which we are operating to ensure we deliver capabilities necessary to support the U.S. Coast Guard and the nation’s missions in the polar regions.”