Halter Marine of Pascagoula, Mississippi, has been awarded the contract to build the second US Coast Guard Polar Security Cutter (PSC).

Halter Marine will be the prime contractor for the Department of the Navy’s fixed-price incentive-firm contract. The contract’s initial efforts will focus on purchasing long-lead-time materials, particularly generator sets, that are required to sustain production while assuring commonality throughout the first two PSCs.

Halter Marine was granted a $745 million contract in 2019 to design and build the first new heavy icebreaker in the United States in over 40 years. The deal featured two options that, if exercised, would increase the contract’s total value to over $1.9 billion.

The PSC program is a multi-year Department of Homeland Security initiative to procure up to three multi-mission PSCs to help the USCG recapitalize its fleet of next-generation polar icebreakers.

Halter Marine, a company from ST Engineering North America, is joined by Technology Associates (TAI) as the ship’s designer. The design for the ship is based off a German “Polarstern II” design. TAI, Halter Marine and TAI teams together with other manufacturers are working to finalize PSC’s design.

The Polar Security Cutter will be 460 feet long with an overall beam of 88 feet, with a full load displacement of 22,900 long tons. The propulsion system will be diesel electric, with a 45,200 horsepower.  It will be capable of continually melting ice up to eight feet thick. The vessel will comfortably accommodate 186 persons for a period of 90 days.

Halter Marine has collaborated with ABB and Trident Marine for its Azipod propulsion and power distribution system, Raytheon for command and control system integration, Caterpillar for the main engines, Jamestown Metal Marine for the joiner package, and Bronswerk for the HVAC system, in addition to TAI.

“By building the second Polar Security Cutter, Halter Marine will continue its mission in delivering a national priority to the United States Coast Guard. Our talented workforce here at Halter Marine is proud to be part of such an important endeavor,” said Bob Merchent, President and Chief Executive Officer of Halter Marine.

The Coast Guard’s fleet of polar icebreakers currently comprises one 399-foot large Icebreaker, Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star that was commissioned in the year 1976. There is also a medium-sized icebreaker of 420 feet, Coast Guard Cutter Healy which was commissioned in 2000.

Polar Star was reactivated after a three-year long break and resumed operations in late 2013. Since then, the icebreakers have completed six Operation Deep Freeze resupply missions to Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, as well as a rare winter journey to the Arctic. In 2021, the Polar Star began a four-year service life extension project (SLEP) to extend the cutter’s service life.

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