The National Security Cutter features enhanced capabilities that will allow the class to replace 12 aging 378‐foot Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters that have been in service for 40 years. At 418 feet long, an NSC has a maximum speed of 28 knots and range of 12,000 nautical miles. The NSC features advanced command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment, as well as aviation support facilities and stern boat launch capability. Technological advancements will also allow a smaller crew to operate an NSC, reducing manpower requirements. A NSC also carries enough food and consumables to stay at sea for 60 days and has the ability to conduct vertical replenishment at sea and to refuel at sea in order to extend patrols.
A U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter is equipped with:
Ingalls Shipbuilding is the sole builder of Legend-class National Security Cutters for the U.S. Coast Guard. The National Security Cutter is the first new design for the service in 20 years. Ingalls Shipbuilding builds National Security Cutters using highly pre-outfitted grand blocks over a three year construction span. Lessons learned during construction of each ship in the class has led to significant design and build strategy improvements, improved quality, reduced build time and increased savings for follow-on ships.
The NSC program has matured in its serial production at Ingalls Shipbuilding since the contract was first awarded and construction began in 2004.