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GAO notes USCG confirmation of further significant OPC delay

The lead ship of the US Coast Guard's Offshore Patrol Cutter fleet will face another delivery delay. (US Coast Guard)

The delivery of the lead ship of the new US Coast Guard (USCG) Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) fleet being built by Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) is delayed until at least near the end of 2023, USCG officials told Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigators, according to a recently released GAO report.

“ESG is scheduled to deliver the lead ship in June 2023, but according to coast guard officials, this delivery date is no longer feasible,” the GAO said in its report Coast Guard Acquisitions: Offshore Patrol Cutter Program Needs to Mature Technology and Design , released 20 June.

“ESG now plans to deliver the lead ship at least six months later,” the GAO reported. “They also told us that the new conforming shafting [construction changes] for OPCs 2, 3, and 4 will be available nine months later than planned for each ship, which will impact their respective delivery dates.”

Initially, the USCG planned to spend more than USD12 billion over 20 years to acquire a fleet of 25 OPCs – “an effort the coast guard calls its highest investment priority and largest acquisition programme”, the GAO said. The OPCs will replace 28 Medium Endurance Cutters (MECs).

“The OPC's total acquisition cost estimate increased from USD12.5 billion to USD17.6 billion between 2012 and 2022. The programme attributes the 40% increase to many factors, including restructuring the stage one contract and recompeting the stage two requirement in response to a disruption caused by Hurricane Michael, and increased infrastructure costs for homeports and facilities, among other things,” the GAO added.

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