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Northrop gets $592M Coast Guard contract

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula has been awarded a $592 million contract to build a third Coast Guard National Security Cutter, U.S. Sens. Trent Lott and Thad Cochran said Thursday.

The award includes $255 million for cost adjustments for two cutters already under construction at Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula. The adjustments are for change orders, materials, labor cost increases and costs associated with Hurricane Katrina.

“The NSCs will replace Coast Guard cutters that are almost 40 years old,” said Lott, R-Miss. “This new class of ships will significantly increase the capability and capacity of our Coast Guard, enhancing its ability to meet today’s challenges, including illegal drug interdiction and guarding our shores against terrorist threats.”

The new 418-foot cutters are more like warships than their predecessors, and are designed to be the Coast Guard’s flagship vessel. The vessels will have several automatic weapons systems, a medium caliber deck gun and sensors for intelligence gathering and sharing. They are designed to detect and defend against chemical, biological and radiological attacks.

“Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the escalation of terrorist threats to our homeland, the Coast Guard has become increasingly important to our nation,” said Cochran, R-Miss. “This announcement represents the end product of months of good faith negotiations between Northrop Grumman and the United States Coast Guard. The agreement will allow the Coast Guard to expedite the construction of ships critical to our nation’s security.”