Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division will host the christening ceremony of the U.S. Coast Guard’s ninth Legend-class national security cutter (NSC), the future USCGC Stone (WMSL-758), at its facility in Pascagoula, Mississippi on Feb. 29.
The keynote speaker for the ship christening is Adm. Karl Schultz, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. Other speakers of the ceremony are Brian Cuccias, president, Ingalls Shipbuilding; Ms. Laura Cavallo, ship’s sponsor; and Adm. Charles Ray, vice commandant, U.S. Coast Guard.
The ships’s sponsor Laura Cavallo was born into a multi-generational Coast Guard family, and is the niece of the ship’s namesake, Coast Guard officer Commander Elmer “Archie” Fowler Stone. Stone made history as the Coast Guard’s first aviator in 1919 for being one of two pilots to successfully make a transatlantic flight in a Navy seaplane.
The keel of the vessel was authenticated on Sept. 14, 2018, and the cutter was launched on Oct. 4, 2019. The future USCGC Stone is scheduled for delivery in fiscal year 2021.
Until now, Ingalls has delivered eight NSCs, the flagship of the Coast Guard’s cutter fleet, designed to replace the 12 378-feet Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters that entered service in the 1960s.
NSCs, also known as the Legend-class cutters, are 418 feet long with a 54-foot beam and displace 4,500 tons with a full load. They have a top speed of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 miles, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 120.
The Legend-class NSC is capable of meeting all maritime security mission needs required of the high-endurance cutter. The cutter includes an aft launch and recovery area for two rigid hull inflatable boats and a flight deck to accommodate a range of manned and unmanned rotary wing aircraft.
The class is the largest and most technologically advanced class of cutter in the U.S. Coast Guard, with robust capabilities for maritime homeland security, law enforcement, marine safety, environmental protection and national defense missions.
The Coast Guard commissioned its two newest NSCs, USCGC Kimball (WMSL 756) and USCGC Midgett (WMSL 757), during a ceremony at the USCG Base Honolulu in Hawaii in August last year. Six more NSCs are currently in service. USCGC Hamilton (WMSL-753) and USCGC James (WMSL-754) are stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, and USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750), USCGC Waesche (WMSL-751), USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752) and USCGC Munro (WMSL-755) are stationed in Alameda, California.
In December 2018, Ingalls received two fixed-price incentive contracts with a combined value of $931 million to build NSCs 10 and 11. Ingalls officially started the fabrication of the 10th NSC, the future USCGC Calhoun (WMSL 759), on Nov. 12, 2019.
A heavily armed and enlarged frigate design based on NSC hull form was entered into the U.S. Navy’s FFG(X) program which will procure 20 frigates starting in 2020. On February 2018, it was announced that this design was one of five finalists that would be considered.