The Coast Guard’s New CutterFebruary 16, 2011 - 11:05 AM | by: Adam Housley
Aboard the USCG Cutter Waesche we are more than impressed. At this time of the morning, the fog envelopes San Francisco to the point that we can’t see Alcatraz, or even a slight glimpse of the city, as the 418 foot long ship gently slices through the bay waters….this is by far the largest ship of its kind in the fleet.
We are getting this tour as the Coast Guard touts its impressive new weapon. I have been on a ton of ships during my time at Fox and have seen some impressive improvements, but this one, the USCGS Waesche, may be my favorite. At 50 feet wide compared to the 30 foot wide cutters of old, the ship now has a huge 4000 sq ft flight deck and not one, but two helicopter hangers with a completely automated landing system. There is also a fully automated fire suppression system, including 1800 psi water cannons designed to push a burning chopper hulk off the deck in case of catastrophic magnesium fire.
As for aggressive defense, a state of the art massive 57 mm gun fires fully programmable rounds, meaning no need to change types of ammo depending on what needs (armor piercing, surface to air, etc) are required. The Coast Guard likes to say…”Any Mission, Anytime, Anywhere”…and this new Legend-class of National Security Cutters is designed to do just that.
This advancement means the USCG is now even more capable of executing the most challenging maritime security missions including supporting the mission requirements of the joint U.S. combatant commanders. This new design will provide better sea keeping and higher sustained speeds, greater endurance and range, and the ability for launch and recovery, in higher sea conditions. There’s improved small boats, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles – all key attributes in enabling the Coast Guard to implement increased security responsibilities.
I am told the National Security Cutter will enable the Coast Guard to screen and target vessels faster, more safely and reliably before they arrive in U.S. waters – to include conducting onboard verification through boardings and, if necessary, taking law enforcement actions. This ship can launch up to two 24 ft jet-powered Zodiacs WHILE THE CUTTER IS STILL MOVING…and the whole ship is loaded with sensors so you can see every door and whether its open, closed or secured, all from monitors on the bridge. There are currently 2 of these National Security Cutters deployed, another will be delivered later this year and there are plans to build 5 more. What do you think?