Bollinger Built Fast Response Cutter Undergoes Sea Trials
VIDEO: U.S. Coast Guard Fast Response Cutter (FRC) BERNARD C. WEBBER Conducts Sea Trials Prior to its Delivery
In September 2008, Bollinger Shipyards was awarded an $88 million contract for the design and construction of the first Sentinel-class FRC. The vessel, now known as BERNARD C. WEBBER, was launched on April 21 and first got underway on November 27th to begin builder’s trials. The builder’s trials will include pier side and underway machinery and equipment tests including propulsion, command control and navigation. After successful builder’s trials WEBBER will prepare for acceptance trails by the Coast Guard, prior to its January 2012 delivery. The second FRC, RICHARD ETHERIDGE, was launched on August 18th and is scheduled to be delivered in spring 2012. The third FRC, WILLIAM FLORES, was launched on November 29th in Lockport, LA and is scheduled to be delivered in the summer of 2012.
The FRC’s are part of the Coast Guard's Sentinel Class patrol boat project first conceived in 1787 by Alexander Hamilton who wrote “a few armed vessels, judiciously stationed at entrances to our ports, might at a small expense be made useful sentinels of our laws.” The Coast Guard says the new generation of patrol boats “will continue the Coast Guard’s long history of protecting America’s citizens, assets and interests at home and abroad.”
The FRC’s are 154 feet long and capable of speeds of 28 knots. They’re designed with a remotely operated 25mm chain gun and four .50 caliber machine guns. The vessel can accommodate 24 crew members and patrol independently for a minimum of 5 days at sea.
In December 2009 the Coast Guard awarded Bollinger Shipyards a contract option worth an estimated $141 million to begin production on three Sentinel-class FRC’s and an additional $166.1 million contract option in September 2010 for another 4 FRC’s. A year later a $179.7 million contract option was awarded to the Lockport, LA shipyard for four addition vessels – bringing the number of FRC’s awarded to Bollinger to twelve.
The total FRC contract has options for up to 34 cutters worth approximately $1.5 billion.
PHOTO 1 (Thumb): The first Fast Response Cutter, Bernard C. Webber, gets underway off the coast of Grand Isle, La. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cory Rowland.
PHOTO 2: The lead Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutter, the Bernard C. Webber, enters the water for the first time on April 21. The cutter’s mast was installed a little over a week after the launch. U.S. Coast Guard photo.