Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter (FRC) Patrol Boats, United States of America
Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter (FRC) is a new class of patrol boat, being built by Bollinger Shipyards for the US Coast Guard (USCG). The boats are being constructed as part of the Deepwater programme, to replace the ageing fleet of the 110ft Island Class cutters of the USCG.
Sentinel Class patrol boats will fulfil the current patrol boat gap of the USCG by providing the capability to meet the potential mission requirements. The cutters can perform maritime homeland security, search and rescue (SAR), fishery patrol and national-defence missions. The patrol boats will enable the USCG to safeguard the 19,924km-long coastline of the United States.
Orders and deliveries of the USCG's patrol boats
In September 2008, Bollinger Shipyards was awarded an $88m contract by the USCG for the construction and delivery of the first Sentinel Class patrol boat. Bollinger received the first contract option for three patrol boats in December 2009.
The keel was laid for the first ship in class, Bernard C. Webber (WPC 1101), in April 2010. It was launched in April 2011 and delivered in February 2012. The FRC was commissioned into service in April 2012.
In September 2010, Bollinger Shipyards received a $166.1m contract option from the USCG for four FRCs. A $179.7m contract option was awarded for four more FRCs in September 2011.
The USCG exercised a $27.2m contract option for the FRC and data license package in February 2012. In September 2012, the USCG exercised a $250m contract option for six more patrol boats, which brought the total orders of FRC boats to 18.
The second FRC in class, Richard Etheridge (WPC 1102), was delivered in May 2012. William Flores (WPC 1103) was commissioned into service in November 2012. The fourth boat in class, Robert Yered (WPC 1104), was handed over to the USCG in the same month of 2012. It was commissioned into service in February 2012.
The USCG plans to receive a total of 58 Sentinel Class FRCs under two production phases.
Sentinel Class design and features
The design of the Sentinel Class is based on the Damen Stan 4708 patrol boat. The hull and superstructure are made of steel and aluminium respectively. The boats will be longer and heavier than their predecessors.
The vessels are fitted with a stern launching ramp, watertight bulkheads and a fixed pitch propeller, replacing the variable pitch propeller of the original design.
The Sentinel Class has a length of 46.9m, beam of 7.6m and a draft of 2.9m. The displacement of the vessel is 353t. The FRC can accommodate 22 crew members.
The FRCs are capable of operating regularly in sea state four and can conduct operations in sea state six. The boats are equipped with small underwater fins, to reduce the impact of roll and pitch motions. The FRC can deploy rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIB) for conducting rescue and interception missions.
Command and control of the Sentinel Class FRC
The onboard command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) system allows the Sentinel Class to interoperate with other existing and future units of the USCG, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Department of Defence.
Fast Response Cutter weapons and propulsion
The Mk 38 Mod 2 Machine Gun System (MGS) installed on the forward bow deck can house a remotely controlled Bushmaster 25mm chain-fed autocannon. The gun can fire up to 180 rounds per minute.
USCG Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter, Richard Etheridge
The firing is optimised by Toplite electro-optical fire control system. The boat is also armed with four crew-served .50-calibre machine guns.
The Sentinel Class is powered by two 20-cylinder MTU TIER II diesel engines driving shaft and propeller through the reduction gear. The engines develop a total power output of 4,300kW. The cutter is also fitted with a bow thruster for high-manoeuvrability in narrow anchorages and channels. The bow thruster will generate a power of 75kW. The propulsion system provides a maximum speed of more than 28kt and range of 2,950nmi.
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