Coast Guard 2019 Budget Funds Icebreaker Design, Second Offshore Cutter
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Coast Guard’s requirement for new icebreakers advanced in President Donald J. Trump’s 2019 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget proposal with the funding of the detailed design of a new heavy polar icebreaker.
The service’s $11.7 billion budget includes $750 million for the “detail design and construction to maintain scheduled delivery for the new icebreaker in 2023,” the DHS budget summary said. “Specifically, funding provides detail, design, long-lead materials, construction, program management office support, feasibility studies and maintaining the indicative design, cybersecurity planning, project resident office initiation, and Navy reimbursable technical support.”
The Coast Guard has a requirement for three heavy polar icebreakers. The service has only one operating polar icebreaker, Polar Star, which is four decades old. The budget also provides $15 million to sustain Polar Star under a multi-year service-life extension project.
The budget allocates $400 million for the second offshore patrol cutter (OPC) and long-lead materials for the third , as well as $240 million for four Sentinel-class fast response cutters (FRCs), which will bring to 52 the number built or funded of a program of record for 58 FRCs.
Also proposed is $5 million for acquisition planning for what the Coast Guard calls a “Waterways Commerce Cutter,” a replacement for its obsolete fleet of inland tenders and barges built between 1944 and 1990.
The Coast Guard is not planning to procure new aircraft in 2019, but with $17 million is funding mission system modernization of its HC-144 Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft with the Minotaur mission system and 380-HD high-definition upgrades to the Star Safire III electro-optical sensor. The budget also provides $80 million for spare parts, training and mission system development for the C-27J maritime patrol aircraft fleet to convert the aircraft into HC-27Js.
The budget provides $579 million for operations and support.
One item eliminated in the Coast Guard budget is the crew rotation concept for the first three national security cutters (NSCs) based at Alameda, California.
“Elimination of the CRC program standardizes operations across the NSC fleet and avoids costly and inefficient CRC implementation on other NSCs,” the budget summary said.