U.S. Coast Guard Provides Draft Solicitation for Offshore Patrol Cutter

The U.S. Coast Guard updated the technical library and provided a draft solicitation for the offshore patrol cutter (OPC) on Oct. 9.

This draft solicitation contains information for potential offerors about the bidding process and award evaluation factors for the follow-on competition for OPC detail design and construction.

The Coast Guard is now inviting responses from industry on this draft information. Responses are requested no later than Oct. 30. The formal detail design and construction request for proposal (RFP) is scheduled for release in early fiscal year 2021.

Excerpt from USCG statement:

The OPC draft solicitation supports the Coast Guard’s full and open OPC re-compete strategy by providing updated information that reflects the current state of OPC design and acquisition activities to potential offerors, as well as provide information regarding bid evaluation criteria. Using the information provided, potential offerors are able to conduct analysis and development based on the latest programmatic information. The Coast Guard anticipates this approach will enable offerors to submit sound proposals for OPC follow-on production and maintain a strong competitive acquisition environment as the program conducts a new competition to complete the OPC program of record. Instructions for accessing this information can be found as Notice USCG-OPCSTAGE2-2020 at beta.sam.gov.

The OPC acquisition program meets the service’s long-term need for cutters capable of deploying independently or as part of task groups, and is essential to stopping smugglers at sea, interdicting undocumented migrants, rescuing mariners, enforcing fisheries laws, responding to disasters and protecting ports and waterways. The acquisition of 25 OPCs will complement the capabilities of the service’s national security cutters, fast response cutters and polar security cutters as an essential element of the Department of Homeland Security’s layered maritime security strategy.

Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC)

The Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), also known as the Heritage-class cutter or the Maritime Security Cutter, Medium (WMSM), is a new class of cutters being built as part of the U.S. Coast Guard Integrated Deepwater System program.

The OPCs are the Coast Guard’s highest acquisition priority and will provide a capability bridge between the Legend-class National Security Cutters (NSC), which patrols the open ocean in the most demanding maritime environments, and the Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters, which serves closer to shore. They will replace the service’s 270-foot and 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutters, commissioned between 1964 and 1991, which are becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and operate.

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

On September 15, 2016, the U.S. Coast Guard exercised the Detail Design contract option, worth $110.3 million, to Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) in Panama City, Florida. The contract originally included options for the production of up to nine vessels with a potential total value of $2.38 billion dollars.

It was announced in 2019 that ESG was granted extraordinary relief by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after their shipbuilding facilities sustained significant damages from Hurricane Michael. The Coast Guard then moved forward with an adjustment to the OPC detail design and construction contract with Eastern Shipbuilding Group for up to the first four hulls and a follow-on procurement was announced for a total of 25 OPCs (including the first four).

In March 2020, the Coast Guard announced the award of OPC industry studies contracts to eight shipbuilders on March 20. The eight companies are Austal USA, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW), Bollinger Shipyards, Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG), Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM), Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), Philly Shipyard, and VT Halter Marine.


ESG commenced the cutting of steel for the first OPC, the future USCGC Argus, on Jan. 7, 2019. The delivery of Argus is scheduled for 2022.

On April 2 this year, the Coast Guard ordered the construction of the second OPC, the future USCGC Chase (WMSM-916), and acquisition of long lead-time material for the third OPC, the future USCGC Ingham (WMSM-917).

Earlier this year, ESG has commenced the steel cutting for the future USCGC Chase at its facilities. The delivery of this vessel is scheduled to occur in 2023.

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