Deepwater cutter gets training assignment

The Coast Guard is expected to accept delivery today of the Bertholf, the first National Security Cutter produced under the $24 billion Deepwater asset modernization program. The 418-foot vessel was built by Northrop Grumman Corp. and equipped by Lockheed Martin Corp.

The Bertholf will be under special status as it undergoes further field tests during the next two years, the Coast Guard said in a news release. Under the special status, the cutter will do crew training and equipment testing rather than regular patrols.

"Formal acceptance of Bertholf will be a major milestone in a lengthy testing and evaluation period that will follow delivery over the next 22-24 months to ensure the ship meets all technical requirements and the crew is fully trained and certified before it becomes an operational cutter within the Coast Guard's fleet," the Coast Guard said in a recent news release.

In final acceptance testing by the Navy, the Bertholf generated 2,800 trial cards, which are reports of deficiencies. However, Coast Guard officials said April 18 that a first-in-class ship design for the Navy typically generates between 6,000 and 16,000 such cards during sea trials.

Whistleblowers have raised concerns about alleged unprotected cabling that might negatively affect the Bertholf's ability to securely transmit and receive classified data. Information was not immediately available on whether those concerns have been addressed and resolved.

Lockheed Martin provided the Coast Guard command and control system, which supplies a common operating picture; coordinates sensors for surface and air detection, tracking, classification and identification; and provides communications capabilities.

"Our team has worked with the Coast Guard for many years to reach this point," Richard Lockwood, vice president of Lockheed Martin's Coast Guard Systems business, said in a news release. "We are confident that CG-C2 will dramatically improve the Coast Guard's capability to perform its many missions."

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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