PASCAGOULA, Miss., Sept. 11, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) reached construction milestones on two U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutters (NSCs), maintaining the production flow of the nation's newest homeland security maritime assets.
The two ships, USCGC Bertholf (WMSL 750) and USCGC Waesche (WMSL 751), are being constructed at the company's Ship Systems operation in Pascagoula.
On Bertholf, which stands at 90 percent complete, the two main propulsion diesel engines completed a successful light-off. Following this accomplishment, the stern assembly was erected onto Waesche, which stands at 33 percent complete.
"Lighting off the diesel engines is a critical milestone that represents thousands of hours of hard work, bringing Bertholf one step closer to self-sufficiency," said Kevin Amis, Northrop Grumman NSC program manager. "The work continued as shipbuilders accomplished the stern lift in a timely and efficient manner on Waesche. I am very proud of the men and women who make these events a success."
The Bertholf light-off was the second phase in an operational test of the ship's combined diesel and gas turbine propulsion system. The gas turbine engine light-off was completed in early August. The Coast Guard will use the diesel engines to conduct the majority of the NSC's operations. The gas turbine engine will be used primarily for high speed and intercept operations.
The next scheduled events for Waesche include the erection of the forward and aft superstructure grand blocks, followed by the upper bow unit. Only five lifts remain to complete the structure of the Waesche.
The design for the National Security Cutter has evolved since it was proposed in 2002 to meet additional, homeland security-specific requirements identified by the Coast Guard for operations in a post-9/11 operating environment. These include chemical, biological and radiological facilities, a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, and more robust aviation installations, among others.
Each NSC will be 418 feet long with a 4,300 ton displacement at full load, and operate at a maximum speed of 28 knots. The cutter will include an stern launch and recovery area for two rigid hull inflatable boats, an expansive flight deck able to accommodate a range of rotary wing manned and unmanned aircraft, and state-of-the-art command and control systems. In addition, the cutter features improved habitability and a sailor-centric design to facilitate optimized crewing and enhance onboard quality of life.
Northrop Grumman is building the NSC under contract from Integrated Coast Guard Systems, a joint venture of Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is designing and integrating the command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for the NSC under this contract.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.
CONTACT: Bill Glenn Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (228) 327-1671 firstname.lastname@example.org