On 23 April 2019, the Coast Guard awarded a detail design and construction contract to VT Halter Marine Inc. for the lead ship of a new class of polar security cutters. Forty-four years after the commissioning of the Coast Guard’s only remaining operational heavy icebreaker, the USCGC Polar Star (WAGB-10), on 19 January 1976, the replacements will fill a critical gap in capability.1 As Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl L. Schultz noted, “This contract award marks an important step towards building the nation’s full complement of six polar icebreakers to meet the unique mission demands that have emerged from increased commerce, tourism, research, and international activities in the Arctic and Antarctic.”
1 Norman Polmar, The Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Feet, 13th ed. (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1984), 512.
2 Polmar, 514–15.