The first of two new $680 million Coast Guard cutters is expected to arrive in Honolulu Saturday, officials said.
The 418-foot Kimball, the seventh of the Coast Guard’s National Security Cutters and the first to be homeported in Hawaii, is arriving following a transit from Pascagoula, Miss., where it was built.
The cutters “are designed to be the flagships of the Coast Guard’s fleet, capable of executing the most challenging national security missions, including support to U.S. combatant commanders,” Coast Guard District 14 said in a release.
National Security Cutters have a top speed of more than 32 miles per hour, a range of 12,000 nautical miles, an endurance of up to 90 days and can hold a crew of up to 150.
Eleven of the new cutters so far are planned to replace aging high-endurance Hamilton-class cutters that have been in service in Honolulu and elsewhere since the 1960s.
“Kimball will routinely conduct operations from South America to the Bering Sea,” the Coast Guard said, adding it can be used to conduct alien migrant interdiction operations, domestic fisheries protection, search and rescue, counter-narcotics and homeland security operations at great distances from shore.
The new cutters have a 57mm main gun and .50-caliber machine guns. A second National Security Cutter, the Midgett, will arrive in Honolulu next year.