The U.S. Coast Guard has announced the award of a landmark contract valued at $11.04 billion to Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS), a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Known as the Deepwater Program, the ICGS award is the largest ever for the U. S. Coast Guard. It calls for the delivery of the first ships and planes - and upgrades to some existing vessels - within the next five years. The contract may extend up to 30 years. Deepwater will involve the acquisition of up to 91 ships, 35 fixed-wing aircraft, 34 helicopters, 76 unmanned surveillance aircraft, and upgrade of 49 existing cutters and 93 helicopters, in addition to systems for communications, surveillance, and command and control.
The first five years will see a combination of retrofitting equipment on several classes of cutters and finalization of detailed designs on the near-term new cutters and aircraft to be built. This process will increase mission capability, increase operational hours, and reduce operating expenses. The new building program will include three new cutter classes - the National Security Cutter (NSC), the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OSC), and the Fast Response Cutter (FRC).
The new cutters are more seaworthy and comfortable, with spacious personal accommodations, greater privacy, individual Internet connections, lounges, training centers, and exercise facilities. They will include modularized mission-configurable spaces that can be tailored for specific missions in a quick turn-around time. The new cutters will take into account everyday activities and build in efficiencies for these activities.