Sentinel class cutters
The Sentinel Class Cutter, previously known as the Fast Response Cutter, is part of the United States Coast Guard's Deepwater program. At 46.8 m (153.54 ft) it is similar to, but larger than 123 foot extended Island Class Cutters, like the USCGC Matagorda. The vessels are based on the Damen Stan 4708 patrol vessels. The South African government employs similar vessels for environmental and fishery patrol.
Like the Marine Protector class, and the cancelled extended Island class cutters, the Fast Response Cutter would deploy the Short Range Prosecutor Rigid-hulled inflatable for rescues and interceptions.
On March 14 2007 Thad Allen, the Commandant, announced that they had withdrawn from a contract for the construction of the vessels, but had not entirely cancelled the program. The new program would focus more on "commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS)" technology. The earlier design would have used hull built on composite materials, built by Northrop Grumman.
On September 26 2008 Bollinger Shipyards was awarded $88 million USD to build the prototype for the Coast Guard's Sentinel Class cutters. The cutter will be the first of a series of 24-34 43 m (141.08 ft) cutters built to a design largely based on the Stan 4708 patrol vessels from the Netherlands firm the Damen Group.
Originally, the first cutter was to be named the USCGC Sentinel. However, she was later named the USCGC Bernard C. Webber after a recently deceased Coast Guard petty officer who lead a heroic rescue of 32 stranded seamen. The second vessel will be named the USCGC Richard Etheridge, who served in the Coast Guard during the American Civil War. The vessels will be armed with a 25mm autocannon in a Protector Remote Weapons Station, and four crew-served Browning M2 .50 caliber machine guns. They will have a bow thruster for maneuvering in crowded anchorages and channels. They will have small underwater fins, for coping with the rolling and pitching caused by large waves. They will have a stern launching ramp, like the Marine Protecter class and the eight failed expanded Island Class cutters. They will be staffed by a crew of 22.
According to Marine Log, modifications to the Coast Guard vessels from the base design include an increase in speed from 23 to 28 knots; fixed pitch rather than variable pitch propellers; stern launch capability; watertight bulkheads. The lead vessel will be stationed in Miami, and was originally expected to be commissioned in the fall of 2010.
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