VT Halter Reveals New Coast Guard Icebreaker Details

u.s. coast guard icebreaker design
Photo: Technology Associates

Mississippi-based shipbuilder VT Halter Marine has provided new details on the $745 million contract for the design and construction of the United States’ first new heavy icebreaker in more than 40 years.

As we reported last month, the U.S. Department of Navy selected VT Halter as the prime contractor for the $745,940,860 fixed-price incentive-firm contract for the U.S. Coast Guard Polar Security Cutter (PSC).

The award is part of a multi-year Department of Homeland Security program to acquire up to three multi-mission PSCs to recapitalize the Coast Guard’s heavy icebreaker fleet. The contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the the cumulative value of the contract to more than $1.9 billion.

To fullfill the contract, VT Halter Marine has teamed up with ship designer Technology Associates, Inc (TAI). The two companies have spent two years developing the design during Coast Guard’s Heavy Polar Icebreaker Industry Study. VT Halter described the PSC design is an evolution from the existing “Polar Stern II” currently in design and constructions.

The first ship is scheduled for delivery in 2024, the second in 2025, and the last delivering in early 2027.

Coast Guard Icebreaker
Credit: VT Halter Mariner

During the industry study, TAI incrementally adjusted the design and conducted a series of five ship model tank tests to optimize the design. The vessels will be 460 feet in length with a beam of 88 feet overall, a food load displacement of approximately 33,000 long tons at delivery. Propulsion will be diesel electric with over 45,200 horse power for breaking ice between six to eight feet thick. The vessel will accomodate 186 personnel with an extended endurance of 90 days.

Other partners in the project include ABB and Trident Marine for the Azipod propulsion, Ratheon for command and control systems integration, Catepillar for the main engines, Jamestown Metal Marine for joiner package, and Bronswerk for the HVAC system.

VT Halter says the entire program is expected to create an additional 900 jobs to its Mississippi shipyard.

“The talented workforce of the VT Halter Marine team is proud to be part of this important effort to strengthen U.S. capability in the polar regions. This contract award is also testimony of U.S.-shipbuilding capability along the Gulf Coast and the great support Mississippi provides to its industries,” said Ronald Baczkowski, CEO of VT Halter Marine.