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Offshore Patrol Cutter (Heritage-class)

Austal USA was awarded a contract for the detailed design and construction of up to 11 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPC) for the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in July 2022.

The first vessel has been contracted by the US Coast Guard, with options for a further 10 vessels.

Construction is expected to commence in 2023 at Austal USA’s new US$100 million steel shipbuilding facility in Mobile, Alabama.

The Coast Guard’s 110 metre steel OPCs provide a capability bridge between the service’s National Security Cutters, that operate in the open ocean, and the smaller, Fast Response Cutters that operate closer to shore. The new OPCs are capable of conducting a variety of missions including law enforcement, drug and migrant interdiction, and search and rescue operations.

With a range of 10,200 nautical miles at 14 knots and a 60-day endurance period, each OPC will be capable of deploying independently, or as part of task groups, and serving as a mobile command and control platform for surge operations such as hurricane response, mass migration incidents and other emergency events. The Cutters will also support Arctic objectives by helping regulate and protect emerging commerce and energy exploration in Alaska.

Austal USA will construct the OPC using its proven ship manufacturing processes and innovative methods that incorporate lean manufacturing principles, modular construction, and moving assembly lines in the company’s new state-of-the-art enclosed steel production facility.