The Navy’s largest shipbuilder, Huntington Ingalls, officially started fabrication of the U.S. Coast Guard’s newest 4,500-ton national security cutter.
Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division marked the start of fabrication of the future Calhoun (WMSL 759). The start of fabrication signifies that the first 100 tons of steel have been cut.
Known as the Legend-class, national security cutters are capable of executing the most challenging national security missions, including support to U.S. combatant commanders. They are 418 feet in length, 54 feet in beam and 4,600 long tons in displacement. They have a top speed of more than 28 knots, a range of 12,000 nautical miles, an endurance of up to 90 days and can hold a crew of up to 150. These new cutters are replacing the high endurance Hamilton-class cutters (378 feet) that have been in service since the 1960s.
The Legend class is the largest and most technologically advanced class of cutter in the Coast Guard, with robust capabilities for maritime homeland security, law enforcement, marine safety, environmental protection and national defense missions.
“Each new ship in this class has been an exciting opportunity to build on our legacy,” said Jay Boyd, Ingalls’ NSC program manager. “This is the 10th cutter in the class and a steady production line has allowed our shipbuilders to continually improve on how we build and deliver these technologically advanced cutters to the nation.”
NSC 10 is named for Master Chief Petty Officer Charles L. Calhoun, who was the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard (MCPOCG). He served in the U.S. Navy for three years during World War II and was honorably discharged on Feb. 21, 1946, as a Torpedoman Second Class. He enlisted in the Coast Guard on Sept. 20, 1946, and over the course of 14 years held varying positions of leadership. He served as the MCPOCG from Aug. 27, 1969 until Aug. 1, 1973.
Ingalls has delivered eight Legend-class NSCs, two more are under construction and one additional is under contract. Stone (WMSL 758), the ninth NSC, is scheduled for delivery in 2020.
NSCs are capable of meeting all maritime security mission needs required of the high-endurance cutter. They include an aft launch and recovery area for two rigid hull inflatable boats and a flight deck to accommodate a range of manned and unmanned rotary wing aircraft. NSCs play an important role enhancing the Coast Guard’s operational readiness, capacity and effectiveness at a time when the demand for their services has never been greater.