Those bastards. They went and did it. Cue press release!
The U.S. Coast Guard today accepted delivery of the first National Security Cutter, USCGC Bertholf (WMSL 750), a 418-foot vessel built by Northrop Grumman and equipped by Lockheed Martin with integrated communications, sensors and electronics systems. Acceptance signifies transfer of ownership from industry to government and the start of operational test and evaluation.
Bertholf, which is months late and $200 million over budget, had a surprisingly painless inspection process prior to delivery, showing just 2,800 faults — far fewer than many Navy vessels. But the crankiest part of the ship’s design, her communications suite — which leaks classified data — was deliberately omitted from the inspection process. And the comms might never work as advertised.
But now it’s too late to do anything about it. If the Coast Guard were truly responsible stewards of the taxpayer’s money, the service would have rejected the ship, returned it to builder Northrop and electronics maker Lockheed, and demanded a refund. But in an age when senior officers are all salivating over lucrative post-retirement industry jobs, that kind of integrity is rare. So the Coast Guard — and the taxpayer — now owns Bertholf, problems and all.
(Photo: Coast Guard)