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The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Frederick Hatch, seen here at Key West, Fla., Feb. 9, 2021, is one of the service's newest fast-response vessels.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Frederick Hatch, seen here at Key West, Fla., Feb. 9, 2021, is one of the service's newest fast-response vessels. (Luis Hofschneider/U.S. Coast Guard)

The U.S. Coast Guard ordered another four fast-response cutters Tuesday from Bollinger Shipyards LLC for a total of 64 Sentinel-class vessels under a 13-year contract.

The vessels will be constructed in Lockport, La., for delivery between fall 2024 and summer 2025, the shipbuilder announced Tuesday in a news release.

The Coast Guard has commissioned into service 43 fast-response cutters built by Bollinger under a design-and-build contract for 34 vessels first let in 2008, according to the release. By exercising options on that original contract, the Coast Guard has ordered 64 of the new cutters.

Each fast-response cutter has an average procurement cost of about $65 million, according to a Congressional Research Service report from July 21. It cited the Coast Guard’s fiscal year 2020 budget submission as estimating the total cost of acquiring 58 cutters at $3.74 billion.

At 64 cutters, that would bring the total to about $4.16 billion.

“Our unique experience building for the Coast Guard is unparalleled and has shown time and time again that we can successfully deliver the highest quality vessels on a reliable, aggressive production schedule and cost, even in the most challenging circumstances, including the global pandemic and record hurricane season experienced over the past year,” Ben Bordelon, president and CEO of Bollinger, said in the release.

The fast-response cutters are designed for missions beyond the traditional search-and-rescue work for which the Coast Guard is best known. Armed with four, .50-caliber machine guns and a remote-controlled, 25-mm cannon, the $65 million vessels are also used for drug interdiction, defense operations, maritime law enforcement and environmental protection.

They can reach speeds up to 28 knots and remain at sea for five days, giving them a range of more than 2,500 nautical miles, according to the Coast Guard.

The service on July 29 commissioned three fast-response cutters in Guam, the Frederick Hatch, Myrtle Hazard and Oliver Henry.

Coast Guard commandant Adm. Karl Schultz at the christening said the ships bring an “expeditionary capability to the region that we haven’t had before.”

In 2019, Schultz said positioning cutters in Guam provides a counterbalance to aggressive Chinese behavior in the region.

Bollinger has delivered 73 Marine Protector-class patrol boats to the Coast Guard and 14 Cyclone-class patrol ships to the U.S. Navy, according to the company’s website.

It also recently christened a 400-by-100-foot barge, the Holland, which will be used to support construction and maintenance for the Navy’s Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines.

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