June 26, 2002
Coast Guard to spend $17 billion to bring force into 21st century
Plan is to create new fleet, fix old
By OTTO KREISHER
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON – The Coast Guard yesterday awarded the biggest
procurement contract in its history, an estimated $17 billion
project to modernize its aging force to meet the increasing
demands of maritime safety, drug interdiction and homeland
The contract for a fleet of cutters, aircraft, helicopters,
unmanned planes and a network of command, control and
surveillance equipment went to a team of Lockheed Martin and
The multiyear "Deepwater" program will replace or upgrade the
Coast Guard's 13 helicopters, four C-130 aircraft and nine ships
based in California. The program will bring work to at least 10
companies in the state, including Northrop Grumman units in
The contract includes a potential $11 billion agreement to
produce an integrated system of up to 91 ships, 35 fixed-wing
aircraft, 34 helicopters, 76 unmanned spy planes and an
electronics network. It also will upgrade 49 cutters and 93
helicopters now in service.
The award also includes a separate contract to maintain and
improve the system for up to 30 years at a potential cost of
The Coast Guard commandant said the 21st-century systems will
enable his service to handle the increasing homeland security
missions, on top of its traditional tasks of maritime safety,
fisheries management, environmental protection, and anti-drug
and immigration-control missions.
"The Coast Guard must have the ability to meet the threats to our
security before they reach our shores," Adm. Thomas Collins
The five-year procurement effort is a revolutionary approach to
modernizing the Coast Guard's aged assets as an integrated
system, rather than as individual programs. It is being studied as
a possible model for future major government acquisition
The Integrated Coast Guard Deepwater Systems team of
Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman combines two of the
nation's few remaining integrated aerospace, high-technology
and defense-weapons manufacturers. The team includes 100
other companies in 32 states.
Lockheed Martin will provide the modern
command-and-control and information-sharing system for the
new and existing vessels, aircraft and land-based facilities.
Northrop Grumman, now the nation's largest shipbuilder, will
produce the new cutters and improve a fleet of mid-size ships.
Although design work is ongoing, the new ships are expected to
include 425-foot national security cutters, 341-foot offshore
patrol cutters and 130-foot fast-response cutters.
A Coast Guard spokesman said the cutter development could
share technology with the Navy's new fleet of warships,
particularly the small coastal combat craft.
Northrop Grumman also will supervise the development,
purchase or lease of a turboprop patrol aircraft, two types of
helicopters and two unmanned spy planes, including the
long-range Global Hawk.