Cutter Bertholf Completes Milestone Journey

WASHINGTON – The U. S. Coast Guard’s first-in-class national security cutter will complete its builder trials shortly, after successfully operating in concert with the service’s new maritime patrol aircraft, the Ocean Sentry HC-144, and a newly re-engined HC-65 helicopter.

“I have nearly nine years of sea-duty and I wish I could roll back the clock and serve aboard this cutter when she becomes operational,” said Rear Adm. Ron Rábago, the Coast Guard’s program executive officer, who was on board Bertholf as it departed Pascagoula, Miss. on Friday. “As Bertholf completes her pre-delivery testing, we are very excited about the capabilities that this ship is going to bring to the Coast Guard.”

The Coast Guard anticipates that acceptance trials – the next phase in the process of formally accepting Bertholf into its fleet – will be conducted in three to four weeks. The four days of builder trials test the cutter’s systems and performance in advance of the Coast Guard formally accepting it later this spring, and commissioning the cutter for service this summer.

“I’m both excited and proud to have Bertholf take another major step forward towards delivery. The Coast Guard is demonstrating that it can meet the many management and technical challenges to bring this complex of a platform on line,” said Rear Adm. Gary Blore, the chief of Coast Guard acquisition.

The flagship in the Coast Guard’s first new class of large cutters in 25 years, the 418-foot Bertholf is the Coast Guard’s largest ever patrol cutter. It is the first of eight planned cutters in the Legend Class, which will modernize the Coast Guard fleet with increased range and endurance, more powerful weapons, larger flight decks, advanced hazardous materials detection systems, and state-of-the-art communication and intelligence systems.

Bertholf will be homeported in Alameda, Calif.

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