An industry and government team comprised of personnel from Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors (combat system provider), and government representatives from the Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy recently concluded a thorough series of evaluations called Builder’s Trials for the second National Security Cutter (NSC), Waesche. Conducted by the shipbuilder, the trials were overseen by the Coast Guard’s Project Resident Office (PRO) Gulf Coast to identify issues requiring correction prior to Acceptance Trials and ultimately delivery of Waesche. Builder’s Trials included both pier-side and underway machinery and equipment tests. These tests were designed to demonstrate Waesche’s seaworthiness and the functionality of its systems, including main propulsion, command and control, navigation, aviation facilities, combat, and others. The Coast Guard has learned important lessons from its experiences acquiring NSC 1, USCGC Bertholf, consequently, Waesche’s design, construction, fitting-out, and testing processes are ahead of the schedule established by the first Legend-class cutter, with lower overall risk.
Waesche’s success during the Builder’s Trials is attributable, in part, to the application of lessons-learned, which have had a direct affect on the maturation of numerous systems; stability of command, control, communication, and computer and machinery control systems; reliability of operation of the engineering plant (e.g., turbine, main propulsion diesel engine and line shafting bearings); and successful demonstration of the redesigned small boat stern launch and recovery system and calibration of gun systems (Mk 57 and CWIS).
The Coast Guard and industry will work together to address any deficiencies noted during trials prior to delivery. Each NSC must pass many tests, including those of Acceptance Trials, before the government takes ownership of the new cutter. Acceptance Trials are conducted by the Coast Guard and the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). INSURV’s role in the Coast Guard’s shipbuilding program is to ensure newly constructed ships are inspected thoroughly and consistently, and serious deficiencies are corrected prior to vessel delivery and acceptance. Although much work remains to be done to complete Waesche’s fitting-out process, the Coast Guard is confident in the project's success and looks forward to the new cutter joining the fleet. The Coast Guard and industry are extremely grateful for the partnership and support of the Navy and other third-party entities, such as Naval Sea Surface Command, Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast, Naval Surface Warfare Center, and others, throughout the NSC’s shipbuilding process. Together, this team ensures the newest and most capable patrol cutters in Coast Guard history meet all contractual and operational requirements. The success of this project is being demonstrated through the multi-mission operational deployments of CGC BERTHOLF, which now is on her second patrol in the North Pacific.
Waesche, like her sister ship in the Legend-class, represents a great leap forward in capability for the Coast Guard’s surface forces. The state-of-the-market hull, mechanical and electrical (HM&E) systems and advanced suite of command, control, and communication electronics will ensure the Coast Guard’s fleet is ready to meet 21st century mission needs.
For more information on the National Security Cutter, visit the Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate’s Web site at: www.uscg.mil/acquisition/nsc