March 30, 2005

Keel laid for National Security Cutter

A keel laying ceremony for the Coast Guard's new National Security Cutter (WMSL 750) was held yesterday at Northrop Grumman's Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard.

The National Security Cutter is the largest cutter in the Coast Guard's Deepwater modernization program. It will be the most technologically advanced, multi-mission cutter in the Coast Guard fleet.

The principal speaker at yesterday's event was Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

Secretary Chertoff's wife, Meryl Chertoff, is the sponsor of the first-of-the-class ship.

"This National Security Cutter, the keel of which we lay today, is a visible symbol of the new generation of equipment that we are going to provide to the men and women of the Coast Guard," said Secretary Chertoff . "Importantly, this cutter is not just a ship, but it is an integrated system--a system that is designed to perform in the defense of this country. In a way, that's emblematic of the Deepwater program itself, which is not simply a collection of individual assets, cutters, ships and aircraft, but is part of a capability...part of a performance-based effort designed to deliver a result, a successful mission of protecting these United States."

Philip A. Dur, president, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems said the keel laying ceremony marked a "beginning and a culmination. The beginnings of the first Coast Guard cutter built here in Pascagoula, and the culmination of countless hours of research planning and commitment to making the National Security Cutter a formidable asset in America's homeland security effort. We are proud to be part of this program, the largest recapitalization effort in the Coast Guard's history. We are committed to making this ship the best first-of-the-class ship ever built by Northrop Grumman or its antecedents."

The National Security Cutter will be 418 feet long, sustain speeds of 28 knots, be capable of 29 knots sprint speeds and will have an endurance of up to 60 days.

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