Recapitalization: The Fast Response Cutter

For more than two centuries, Coast Guard Cutters have patrolled America’s waterways, executing the service’s missions. In the coming months, the service will welcome a new generation of patrol boat to the fleet in the form of the Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutter (FRC).

Bernard C. Webber under construction

The lead Sentinel-class FRC, the Bernard C. Webber, under construction at Bollinger Shipyards. U.S.Coast Guard Photo.

The new Sentinel-class patrol boats will patrol 95,000 nautical miles of U.S. coastline to conduct vital port, waterways and coastal security, fishery patrols, search and rescue and national defense missions for our nation.

At 154-feet long, Sentinel-class cutters have space and berthing to accommodate a 23-person mixed-gender crew, allowing the cutter to spend as many as five days underway and will spend 2,500 hours per a year at sea. These extended underway periods, longer than any previous coastal patrol boat, will enhance the Coast Guard’s ability to carry out its underway missions.

Boosting the Coast Guard’s capabilities during security, law enforcement and national defense missions, the FRC will be capable of speeds of 28-plus knots and will be armed with a 25mm chain gun and .50 caliber machine guns.

FRCs will also continue to build on federal, state and local agency partnerships as their integrated command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems are fully capable of operating with existing Coast Guard assets along with those of our partners in the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense.

Artist rendering of FRC

In total, the Coast Guard plans to build 58 FRCs. The first eight are under contract with five currently under construction at Bollinger Shipyards. The first is 76% complete, with the second, third, fourth and fifth FRCs approximately 53%, 33%, 11% and 5% complete. Illustration courtesy of Bollinger Shipyards.

The first FRC, Bernard C. Webber, held its keel laying ceremony on April 9. The cutter is named for one of the service’s most recognizable heroes and is expected to be delivered to its homeport of Miami, Fla. in spring of 2011 where it will support vital law enforcement and national security missions throughout the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

Following the commissioning of CGC Bernard C. Webber, all of the anticipated 58 fast response cutters in the Sentinel class will bear the names of heroes who served in the enlisted ranks of the Coast Guard and its predecessor services.

Tune into the Compass a week from today as we launch a series to announce the names of the next 13 FRCs and share the stories of these Coast Guard heroes.

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