Tuesday, April 18, 2017

USCG Brings New Fast Response Cutter to Alaska

By Mark Edward Nero

US Coast Guard cutter John McCormick is now the first fast response cutter to be stationed in Alaska after completing a 6,200-mile journey from the shipyards of Louisiana to reach its new home port in Ketchikan, the USCG said April 12.

John McCormick is the first of six FRCs to be stationed in the Coast Guard 17th District and is to perform southeast Alaska missions.

“It will be interesting to explore and define exactly what this FRC is capable of accomplishing in southeast Alaska.” Lt. Jr. Grade Joseph Petry, executive officer aboard the John McCormick said, The new 154-foot FRCs are capable of transiting farther than their 110-foot predecessors before needing to refuel, and have a range of 2,500 nautical miles. Also, their two 20-cylinder turbocharged engines provide propulsion resulting in sustained flank speeds of 28-plus knots. Additionally, FRCs are equipped with a 75-kilowatt bow thruster, which provides for more precise steering in narrow channels and while conducting close-quarters operations.

Weapons systems capabilities on board John McCormick are also increased from those of previous patrol boats. In addition to four M2HB .50-caliber machine guns, the cutter is equipped with a forward-mounted, remotely operated Bushmaster 25-mm chain-fed autocannon capable of firing 225 rounds per minute at a range of up to 6,800 meters.

The stern of John McCormick, like others in its class, is equipped with a hydraulic gate, through which the FRC may launch and recover its 26-foot small boat. This method, according to the USCG, provides a more stable alternative to the crane and davit system used by the older 110-foot patrol boats and enables the FRC crews to operate the small boat and conduct missions in heightened environmental conditions.

“These ships will be critical in providing law enforcement, fisheries regulation, and search and rescue assistance to the maritime communities of Alaska,” Petry said.