National Security Cutter

So, back on December 10, the Coast Guard commissioned the fourth of a planned eight of the “Legends” class National Security Cutters. The NSCs are the replacement for the long serving Hamilton class high endurance cutters.

The CGC Hamilton, the newest national security cutter, joined the Coast Guard fleet at a commissioning ceremony held Dec. 6, 2014, in Charleston, South Carolina. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Lehmann

The development of the NSC was part of the troubled “Deepwater” Coast Guard/industry partnership to recapitalize the Coast Guard’s inventory of ships and aircraft with modern, integrated systems. If the development was sometimes troubled, it was in the end successful in fielding the NSC, the Fast Response Cutter (as a replacement for the 110’ cutters) and the HC-144A patrol plane, as well as new classes of small craft.

At 418’ long, and displacing about 4500 tons, the NSCs have enough endurance to patrol for 60 to 90 days at a time. They have a combined diesel and gas turbine propulsion system, with a pair of diesel engines providing economical cruise power, and a dash capability from the LM2500 turbine for a top speed of about 28 knots.

They’re large enough to carry and support an aviation detachment with up to two helicopters. They have a very respectable sensor suite, and are able to datalink with other Coast Guard assets, Navy networks, and allied forces.

The NSCs were built with a great deal of attention paid to crew comfort. The largest berthing compartments have only six racks. Furthermore, they were designed with excess capacity. The crew consists of 113 officers and men, but the ship has accommodations for up to 148.


The Coast Guard’s virtual tour gives an excellent look inside, and I highly recommend it.

11 thoughts on “National Security Cutter”

  1. Thanks, XBradTC.

    A very nice tour. Noticeable in it’s absence on the tour is CIC. So shiny and new, with a good design. NAVSEA, take note.

    I liked the repair lockers and DC central (AKA the engineering Control Room. Makes an ol’ DCA sigh.

    Only nits, the mugs in the Wardroom and Chiefs Mess do not look secured for sea. Also noted the fire main and other piping is not color coded.

    1. Well, why not? The NSC is roughly equivalent in firepower with the LCS, with better sensors, aircraft handling facilities, and life support, and is probably a superior overall design.

      The only thing I see that the Little Crappy Ship has on the National Security Cutter is outright speed, and I’m not sure how much of an asset that is. You’re not going to outrun a missile, no matter how fast you are.

      1. I don’t think so. But if you deleted the boat ramps, you’d have enough space on the fantail for either Harpoon or similar missile.

      1. I know. My answer was a bit of a non-sequiter, I guess. But I was surprised that it came with it. Mk36, sure. But Nulka seems a bit more than the Coasties usually get.

        Not sure you could stream Nixie with the ramp configuration. The “wings” of the transom host the rudder engine rooms, so I’m not sure there’s space for Nixie.

    1. Ah, gotcha.

      Well, I don’t see any reason that you couldn’t mount Nixie on the weather decks, if nothing else. It’s not THAT big of a system, and you could probably put it right there outboard of the flight deck.

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