Will Ulstein’s X-Bow Be Incorporated into the Next Generation of US Coast Guard Cutters?

Rob Almeida
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September 19, 2012



Update: Unfortunately you will not be seeing a X-Bow USCG cutter anytime soon, as Vigor was not one of the three shipyards selected for the next round of design and funding. SEE: Bollinger Among Three Shipyards Selected for USCG Offshore Patrol Cutter Program

Original: Vigor Industrial, and of course Ulstein certainly hope so.  They’ve been working together for the past two years to come up with a new Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) design for up to 25 new ships that would replace the aging Reliance and Famous– class of medium endurance US Coast Guard cutters.

One design the USCG is considering is Vigor Marine and the all new ULSTEIN SX151, of course featuring the unmistakeable X-Bow.

So could this be the USCG’s next generation cutters? Yes, but we will have to see if the design can beat out several other yards bidding for the contract.

Ulstein says that the ship measures 100 meters long by 16.4 meters wide and has a top speed of 22 knots and a typical operating speed is estimated to vary from 5 to 22 knots through combined diesel mechanic / diesel electric propulsion. The design can accommodate 124 persons, is equipped with a helicopter deck and hangar, and a hangar for three rescue boats.

In addition, Vigor has configured the Ulstein X-Bow® for maximum mission effectiveness with the following features:

  • A large, stable flight deck
  • A large hangar that comfortably accommodates an H-65 with the blades extended and a future UAV
  • An innovative boat hangar for protected maintenance – day or night, fair or foul weather
  • A flexible boat handling system to accommodate a variety of boats, including the MK IV Over-the-Horizon Cutter Boat and unmanned surface and subsurface vessels
  • A powerful and efficient propulsion system
  • Quiet and comfortable living spaces
“A capable offshore workhorse” for the U.S. Coast Guard?


Vigor OPC is not only affordable to produce, but it also reduces operational costs throughout the life of the vessel, according to Ulstein.

  • 7-16% better fuel efficiency than a conventional ship, depending on speed and sea state
  • A flexible and fuel-efficient propulsion system
  • Spacious machinery compartments
  • Reduced operational manning and maintenance requirements
Now we just have to wait until 2014 or 2015 to see if this viking ship becomes a reality.
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