Equipment of the United States Coast Guard

Equipment of the United States Coast Guard

The United States Coast Guard uses cutters and small boats on the water, and fixed- and rotary wing (helicopters) aircraft in the air. They also use a variety of firearms, including handguns, rifles and machine guns.


Originally, the Coast Guard used the term "cutter" in its traditional sense, as a type of small sailing ship. Today it officially uses the term for any vessel which has a permanently assigned crew and accommodations for the extended support of that crew, although informally this is held to mean any vessel of convert|65|ft|m|sing=on or more in length. [ USCG Regulations] . Chapter 10. Accessed December 11, 2006.]

Larger cutters (over 180 feet (55 m) in length) are controlled by Area Commands (Atlantic Area or Pacific Area). Smaller cutters come under control of District Commands. Cutters usually carry a motor surf boat and/or a rigid-hulled inflatable boat. "Polar"-class icebreakers (WAGB) carry an Arctic Survey Boat (ASB) and Landing Craft. The "CGC Ahi" is the last convert|87|ft|m|0|sing=on cutter to be added to the Coast Guard fleet.

Currently, the Coast Guard is leasing five PC-179 coastal patrol ships from the U.S. Navy; two (including "USCGC Monsoon") operate from San Diego and three from Pascagoula, Mississippi. These vessels are used primarily for counterdrug patrols. [PA3 Brian Leshak, "CG Leases Navy Ships, Fights Drug War". "Coast Guard Magazine" 2/2006, pp. 32–33.]

Any Coast Guard crew with officers or petty officers assigned has law-enforcement authority (14 USC Sec. 89) and can conduct armed boardings.

* For a complete list of Cutters see: United States Coast Guard Cutter and List of United States Coast Guard cutters

*"Polar"-class icebreaker (WAGB): There are three WAGB's, all home ported in Seattle, Washington. Two are convert|399|ft|m|0|sing=on icebreakers (the "Polar Sea" and the "Polar Star"), and one newer convert|420|ft|m|sing=on icebreaker, the "Healy".

*High Endurance Cutter (WHEC): These are Hamilton class cutters, convert|378|ft|m|0 along the waterline. There are 12 WHECs (homeports are: Charleston, South Carolina (2); Seattle, Washington (2); Alameda, California (4); San Diego, California (2); and Honolulu, Hawaii (2).)

*USCGC "Mackinaw" (WLBB-30): The "Mackinaw" is a convert|240|ft|m|0|sing=on heavy icebreaker built for operations on the North American Great Lakes and home ported at Cheboygan, Michigan.

*USCGC "Eagle" (WIX-327): The "Eagle" is home ported at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. It is used for training voyages for Coast Guard Academy cadets and Coast Guard officer candidates. The USCGC "Eagle" was built in Germany as the "Horst Wessel", and was seized by the United States as a prize of war in 1945.

*Medium Endurance Cutter (WMEC): These are mostly convert|210|ft|m|0|sing=on and convert|270|ft|m|0|sing=on cutters, although two "mature" class cutters fall into the WMEC category (the "Alex Haley", the "Acushnet",all stationed in Alaska).

*Seagoing Buoy Tender (WLB): There are 16 "Juniper"-class buoy tenders being commissioned.

*110′ Island Class Cutter (WPB): There are currently 40 110′ patrol boats in active duty service in the U.S. Coast Guard. USCGC Drummond (WPB-1323) is one of the service's most active 110' patrol boats based out of Key West, Florida. Eight of these cutters were planned to be extended to convert|123|ft|m|0. The order was placed with the Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, Louisiana, but the hulls were then found to be unseaworthy and required scrapping. The Coast Guard is seeking a $50 million refund from Bollinger Shipyards. [" [ Our Opinion: Shipbuilding issues should be solved] ". The Mississippi Press. July 23, 2007. Accessed 07-23-2007.]

*National Security Cutter

*Fast Response Cutter

*Offshore Patrol Cutter


The Coast Guard operates about 210 aircraft. Fixed-wing aircraft, such as (Lockheed HC-130 Hercules turboprops and Dassault HU-25A Guardian jets) operate from Air Stations on long-duration missions. Helicopters (Aérospatiale HH-65 Dolphin, Sikorsky HH-60J Jayhawk, and Agusta MH-68 Stingray) operate from Air Stations, Air Facilities, and flight-deck equipped cutters, and can rescue people or intercept smuggling vessels.

The Coast Guard flies five aircraft types:
*Lockheed HC-130 Hercules
*Dassault HU-25A Guardian [ [ HU-25 Guardian] at]
*Sikorsky HH-60J Jayhawk [ [ HH-60J Jayhawk] at]
*Aérospatiale HH-65 Dolphin
*Agusta MH-68 Stingray - were flown by the [ Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) based in Jacksonville, Florida] until late 2007.
*CASA HC-144A Ocean Sentry (testing and integration)

The Coast Guard is planning to purchase 36 CASA CN-235 from Spanish aircraft manufacturer Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA) for medium range search. As of February 26 2008, 3 aircraft have been delivered for testing and integration with a further 5 planned. [ [ EADS CASA’s HC-144A finds a downed pilot during its maiden SAR mission in U.S. Coast Guard service] ] During testing, one aircraft was pulled into active duty for the search downed Air Force pilots, in which the aircraft demonstrated its capabilities.

The Coast Guard is also purchasing Bell Eagle Eye UAVs as part of the Deepwater program. [ [ Bell Eagle Eye HV-911 on the USCG official Web site] ]

In addition to regular Coast Guard aircraft, privately-owned general aviation aircraft are used by Coast Guard Auxiliarists for patrols and search-and-rescue missions.


The Coast Guard operates about 1,400 boats, defined as any vessel not designated as a cutter (traditionally less than 65 feet (20 meters) in length), which generally operate near shore and on inland waterways. The most common is 41 feet (12.5 m) long, of which the Guard has more than 200; the shortest is 12 feet (4 m).

The Coast Guard boat fleet includes:

*Arctic Survey Boat (ASB)

*Motor Life Boat (MLB)

*Utility Boat (UTB)

*Deployable Pursuit Boat (DPB)

*Aids to Navigation Boats (TANB/BUSL/ANB/ANB)

*Transportable Port Security Boat (TPSB): 25-foot (7.6 m) boat, based on the commercial version of the convert|25|ft|m|0|sing=on center-console Boston Whaler, suitable for work in inland waters, easily transportable by trailer. These are primarily used by Port Security Units for force protection in naval support areas abroad, as well as, ports of embarkation/debarkation in expeditionary areas. Most recently these boats and units were deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The durability, versatility, and mobility of these boats make them ideal for this type of operation.

:The Coast Guard planned to reduce the inventory of Boston Whalers because of the lack of interoperable spare parts. On Friday, July 13th, the General Services Administration approved the transfer of 10 Coast Guard boats to the Army in Iraq. The boats, 24' and 27' Boston Whalers with trailers, had an original acquisition cost of more than $800,000. The Army is looking for approximately 55 Riverine or Patrol style boats to conduct water interdiction, river denial and island clearance missions, troop transport and insertion on a regular basis; the Coast Guard is providing the Army with the Boston Whalers and one Ambar boat, a patrol type vessel. [U.S. General Service Administration. " [ Boats Transferred to Iraq] ". Accessed September 4, 2007.]

*Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHI): a rigid-hulled inflatable boat, powered by a gasoline outboard motor or an inboard/outboard diesel engine. The RHI can be easily deployed from a cutter with a four-point bridle for davit lifting and lowering. The RHI's portability and ruggedness allow it to be used on many kinds of missions.

*USCG Short Range Prosecutor (SRP): A 7-meter (23 ft) launch that can be launched from a rear launching ramp, at speed.

*USCG Long Range Interceptor (LRI): An 11-meter (36 ft) high-speed launch that can be launched from the rear ramps of the larger Deepwater cutters.

*USCG Defender: A 25-foot (7.6 m) high speed boat, for a variety of missions, including search and rescue, port security and constabulary duties. First introduced in 2003, the plan is to acquire 700 Defender class boats to replace nonstandard boats and platforms at Coast Guard stations.

*Response boat-medium: The Coast Guard has signed a multi-year contract for 180 response boat-medium (RB-M) boats that will be delivered starting in 2008 to replace the 41′ UTB boats. These aluminum boats will be 45 feet (13.7 m) in length, have twin diesel engines (total 1650 hp), be self-righting, have four crew, six passenger capacity, be equippable with two .50 caliber machine guns, have an excellent fendering system, have a top speed of 42 knots (78 km/h), and be capable of towing a 100-ton vessel in eight-foot seas. The boats will be built by Kvichak Marine Industries of Kent, Washington and Marinette Marine of Manitowoc, Wisconsin. [ U.S. Coast Guard press release 2007-06-28] ]

*USCG Coastal Patrol Boat

mall arms

:"See "From 1986 until 2006, Coast Guardsmen on patrol were armed with Beretta M9 9 mm pistols. The Coast Guard has transitioned to the .40 S&W caliber SIG-Sauer P229R DAK, completing the changeover as of April 2006. Other small arms include the M16A2 rifle and M4 Carbine variant, as well as the Remington 870 police magnum riot shotgun, from which the Coast Guard employs both lethal and non-lethal rounds. The Coast Guard recently replaced the M60 machine gun with the FN M240 machine gun, which is typically mounted on vessels, aircraft, or used in shoreside machine-gun emplacements. Many Coast Guard units are also equipped with the .50 caliber M2 machine gun. Weapons above .50 caliber are considered "weapons systems", rather than "small arms". [PA2 John Edwards and PA1 Kimberly Smith, PADET Atlantic City. "Learning to Shoot All Over Again". "Coast Guard Magazine", Issue 2, 2006, pp. 4–19.]


Coast Guard radio stations cover a wide geographical area using both very high frequency, high frequency, and medium frequency radios. There are eight major radio stations covering long-range transmissions and an extensive network of VHF radio stations along the nation's coastline and inland rivers.

The current communication system is being replaced by Rescue 21. Rescue 21 is an advanced maritime command, control, and communications (|C3) system.

The OMEGA navigation system and the LORAN-C transmitters outside the USA were run until 1994 also by the United States Coast Guard.

ee also

* [ DEEPWATER Project]
* Integrated Deepwater System Program
* Rescue 21


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Missions of the United States Coast Guard — The United States Coast Guard carries out three basic roles, which are further subdivided into eleven statutory missions. The three roles are: Maritime safety Maritime security Maritime Stewardship The eleven statutory missions as defined by law… …   Wikipedia

  • History of the United States Coast Guard — The history of the United States Coast Guard goes back to the Revenue Cutter Service, which was founded on August 4, 1790 as part of the Department of the Treasury. The Revenue Cutter Service and the United States Life Saving Service were merged… …   Wikipedia

  • Organization of the United States Coast Guard — Table of Organization of the Coast Guard This article covers the organization of the United States Coast Guard. The headquarters of the Coast Guard is on 2100 Second Street, SW, in Washington, DC. The Coast Guard announced plans to relocate to… …   Wikipedia

  • Chaplain of the United States Coast Guard — Incumbent: CAPT Gary P. Weeden since: June 11, 2010 First Formation …   Wikipedia

  • United States Coast Guard — portal Active 4 August 1790–present …   Wikipedia

  • United States Coast Guard Auxiliary — United States Coast Guard portal Active June 23, 1939 present …   Wikipedia

  • United States Coast Guard Reserve — Coast Guard Reserve Active 19 February 1941 to present …   Wikipedia

  • United States Coast Guard Air Stations — Coast Guard Air Stations Racing Stripe Active Country United States …   Wikipedia

  • United States Coast Guard Academy — USCGA redirects here. For other uses, see USCGA (disambiguation). United States Coast Guard Academy Motto Scientiæ cedit mare (The sea yields to knowledge) Established 1876/1915 …   Wikipedia

  • United States Coast Guard Cutter — USCG Medium Endurance Cutter Harriet Lane Cutter is the term used by the United States Coast Guard for its commissioned vessels. A Cutter is 65 feet (19.8 m) or greater in length, has a permanently assigned crew, and has accommodations for… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”