Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division has delivered National Security Cutter Stone (WMSL 758) to the U.S. Coast Guard. Documents signed this nonth mark the official transfer of custody of the ship from HII to the U.S. Coast Guard. Stone is scheduled to sail away from the shipyard at the end of this year to its homeport in Charleston, South Carolina. NSC 9 is named to honor Coast Guard Commander Elmer “Archie” Fowler Stone, Coast Guard aviator number one, who made history in 1919 for being one of two Coast Guard pilots in the four man air crew who completed the first trans-Atlantic flight in a Navy seaplane.
The Legend-class cutter, also known as the National Security Cutter (NSC) and Maritime Security Cutter, Large, is the largest active patrol cutter class of the United States Coast Guard. Entering into service in 2008, the Legend class is the largest of several new cutter designs developed as part of the Integrated Deepwater System Program. NSCs are 418 feet long with a top speed of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 miles, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 120. The Legend-class cutters are the second longest of all U.S. Coast Guard cutters, behind the research icebreaker Healy, and will replace the twelve Hamilton-class cutters in service.
These vessels can be used for a variety of tasks, including: environmental protection, search and rescue, fisheries protection, PWCS (Ports, waterways, and coastal security), counter-terrorism activities, law enforcement, drug interdiction, defense operations, and other military/naval operations, including assigned naval warfare tasks with the U.S. Navy. These cutters are envisioned by the Coast Guard as being able to undertake the entire range of the high endurance cutter roles with additional upgrades to make it more of an asset to the Department of Defense during declared national emergency contingencies.
The Legend class is equipped with the same 220 rpm Bofors 57 mm gun as mounted on the USN’s Littoral combat ships. Guided 57 mm ammunition is being developed for the Mk 110 for the Navy and Coast Guard, including for use on the National Security cutters. The Missile Defense duties are handled by the MK 53 NULKA decoy systems, the MK 36 SRBOC countermeasure systems also used on the FFG-7 and CG-47 programs and the Phalanx CIWS.] The combination of the Mk 110 and the Phalanx gives the cutters anti-surface capability, limited air-defense capability, and the capability to provide naval gunfire support.