Saturday, August 25, 2018

Bollinger Shipyards Delivers 30th Fast Response Cutter, USCGC Robert Ward, to U.S. Coast Guard

USCGC Robert G. Ward (WPC-1130)

Bollinger Shipyards has delivered the 30th Fast Response Cutter (FRC), the future USCGC Robert G. Ward (WPC 1130), to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard took delivery of the vessel on the 21st of August, 2018 in Key West, Florida. The vessel’s commissioning is scheduled for February, 2019 in California and she will be the second FRC stationed in San Pedro, California.
Each FRC is named for an enlisted Coast Guard hero who distinguished him or herself in the line of duty. This cutter’s namesake, Robert Ward, was a seaman first class on USS Joseph T. Dickman during the battle of Normandy. While serving as coxswain in the first wave of landings, he successfully landed his troops despite heavy enemy oppression and went back to guide to safety two other crews whose boats had been destroyed by enemy mortar fire. For his conspicuous gallantry in action against the enemy, Ward was awarded the Silver Star.
To build the FRC, Bollinger used a proven, in-service parent craft design based on the Damen Stan Patrol Boat 4708.
The 154-foot FRC is designed to patrol coastal regions and features advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; the ability to launch and recover standardized cutter boats from astern or via side davits; and improved seakeeping and habitability.
The FRCs, which are replacing the 1980s-era 110-foot Island-class patrol boats, feature an endurance of five days and reach a maximum speed of over 28 knots. The cutters are complemented operationally by the offshore patrol cutter’s extended range and endurance, and the national security cutter’s offshore capabilities.
The FRC has been described as an operational “game changer,” by senior Coast Guard officials. Recently, the Coast Guard deployed USCGC Oliver F. Berry (WPC 1124) from Hawaii across the Pacific to the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The 4,400 nautical mile trip marked the furthest deployment of an FRC to date. This trip showcases the hugely expanded operational reach and capability that the FRC provides.
The Coast Guard has ordered 44 FRCs to date. Twenty-eight are in service: 12 in Florida, six in Puerto Rico, two in Alaska, two in New Jersey, two in Mississippi, two in Hawaii and two in North Carolina. Future FRC homeports include Galveston, Texas and Santa Rita, Guam.