U.S. Coast Guard To Integrate Saab Giraffe And Northrop C5ISR Into Offshore Patrol Cutter

Artist’s rendition of USCGC ARGUS, the first Heritage-class OPC.

Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG), the prime contractor for the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) program, awarded Northrop Grumman a contract to provide C5ISR and control systems for the U.S. Coast Guard OPCs.

ESG is building Heritage-class cutters for the Coast Guard. Construction of the first vessel in the class began in January 2019.

In a newly expanded role as C5ISR systems integrator, Northrop Grumman is responsible for integrating all cyber hardened C5ISR systems, including command and control, communications, navigation and the shipboard computer networking systems.

Northrop Grumman’s responsibilities for the OPC platform include the integrated bridge, navigation, command and control, computing network, data distribution, machinery control, and propulsion control systems, cyber/information assurance, testing and integration work.

Heritage-class Cutters

The Heritage-class cutters will perform various missions which include but are not limited to PWCS (ports, waterways, and coastal security), defense operations, maritime law enforcement (drug/migrant interdiction and other law enforcement), search and rescue, marine safety, and environment protection.

The OPC design includes the capability of carrying an MH-60R or MH-65 helicopter and three operational Over The-Horizon small boats. The vessel is also equipped with a highly sophisticated combat system and C4ISR suite that will enhance capabilities to execute the service’s missions.

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The combat suite of Heritage-class cutter includes Saab Sea Giraffe AN/SPS-77 multi-mode medium range naval radar system provides three-dimensional air and surface search functions. The multi-mode naval radar also provides Gun Weapon System cueing and supports the cutters self-defense and limited air defense capability. The cutters is also equipped with the AN/SLQ-32C(V)6 Electronic Warfare System, which is a scaled down and lower cost version of the AN/SLQ-32(V)6 SEWIP Block 2 system.

The Heritage-class cutter is equipped with the same 220 rpm Bofors 57 mm gun as mounted on the USN’s Littoral combat ships and the USCG’s Legend class cutters. The Missile Defense duties are handled by the MK 53 decoy systems also used on the Legend class cutters. The Heritage class cutters weapon and defense systems provide Anti-Surface capability, limited Air-Defense Capability, and the capability to provide naval gunfire support. The cutter is also armed with two .50 caliber machine guns and one Mk 38/Mk 110 25mm gun to provide protection against fast attack craft.

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