July 18, 2008


Here is a current artists impression of the Coast Guard's Planned Offshore Patrol Cutter.

The design is still fluid, but at between 320 and 360 feet long the vessels approach the 378 foot Hamilton class high endurance cutters in size, but are intended to replace the aging Reliance and Famous class medium endurance cutters. They will be much more capable vessels. 25 vessels are planned.

They are impressive vessels indeed with better sea keeping, rescue and aviation capability as well as the 57mm gun plus a CIWS system.

They also are projected here to cost $323.9 million apiece...

I seriously wonder  what we get for that. The broadly comparable (on paper) New Zealand OPV's  mentioned in an earlier post cost 45 million a pop, meaning you could buy 7 per OPV.
Now 175 cutters doesn't take into account any hidden costs and is unrealistic from an available personnel.... or fuel....or even pier space perspective. It also true that the NZ OPV, while sturdy and seaworthy lacks any means to defend itself from somebody deciding to take a potshot at it and it probably doesn't have anything like the planned C4iSR or sensors of this thing.

This begs some above the paygrade questions though.
SHOULD the advancements over the New Zealand design cost 7 times as much? (This is not as unlikely as it might seem. the CG design has a real gun and CIWS. Hell, the C4iSR suite might cost as much or more than the admittedly austere Kiwi cutter, and this vessel has twice the number of engines...)

More to the point, does 7 times cost per hull really give optimum capability for the money spent? Could we build more hulls (35 or so) for better ocean coverage and redundancy and possibly have money left over for other things like improvements to small boat stations and C-schools?

Some of this makes sense if it is planned to use them them in short of war operations as suggested here...even then the costs are begining to approach LCS territory.
Is this a Shipbuilding Industry Problem, a Procurement Problem, or something else....or is it not a problem at all and I merely have unwarranted stickershock?

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 11:37 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 364 words, total size 3 kb.

1 I bet that thing carries a version of the Aegis radar system. Those big flat featureless facets on the superstructure are a dead giveaway.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Sat Jul 19 01:53:07 2008 (+rSRq)

2 Of course, it's also possible that the artist was lazy.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Sun Jul 20 12:31:31 2008 (+rSRq)

3 Sloped superstructures, if sloped properly can provide a moderate amount of stealth, they also are slightly more aerodynamic...not such an advantage for speed but they can reduce the effective "sail area" of a ships superstructure slightly. Since this affects both close quarters handling and stability in high winds every little bit helps. It also can somewhat reduce structural stress from heavy seas breaking over the hull in comparison to a flat sided structure.

The flared hull improves sea keeping  and  ensures that as  the ship  loses freeboard it  actually increases its effective buoyancy

The French LaFayette class frigates/avisos have  similar features and are successful enough to have been bought in various forms by four navies.

The Absalon class flexible support ships of Denmark have a very austere radar set but sport the same sort of features for similar reasons.

Both the UK's Daring class and the Dutch Karl Doorman lack superstructure mounted radar panels, but both have a similar look.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Sun Jul 20 14:06:31 2008 (V5zw/)

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