Surface Forces: September 20, 2002

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During the 1990s, the U.S. Coast Guard realized that most of their larger ships would be ending their useful service lives at the same time. So when they decided to upgrade it's fleet of cutters (lightly armed coastal patrol ships similar to navy frigates), they also realized that most of the word's navies used the same type of ships. In fact, most navy's are equipped, and operate, like the U.S. Coast Guard. And it turns out that many of these nations will be buying new ships soon, an estimated $57 billion worth in the next 15 years. So the new ship designs (three different size hulls, that can be configured for several different missions) will be offered to foreign navys (to be built there or in the United States, and equipped from many different suppliers.) Not only will this save the Coast Guard money, but will give it an opportunity to work with coast guards and navys around the world. You never know where you'll find a better way to do things, which is one the major selling points for the new "Deepwater" collection of cutters (and aircraft and other equipment). The Coast Guard, like the marines, are a small service operating on a tight budget. So they have a tradition of being innovative in order to get the most out of what little they have. 

 


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