A division of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding has secured a contract worth $497m from the US Coast Guard to build seven legend-class national security cutter NSC ships.

The technologically advanced legend-class NSCs are 418ft long with a 54ft beam and displace 4,500t with a full load.

The ships have a range of 12,000 miles, an endurance of 60 days and can reach top speeds of 28k.

The vessels feature an aft launch and recovery area for two rigid-hull inflatable boats and a flight deck to accommodate a range of manned and unmanned rotary wing aircraft.

The NSCs, which can each accommodate 110 crew members, will be used for maritime security missions, including maritime homeland security, law enforcement, marine safety, environmental protection and national defence missions.

Ingalls NSC programme manager Jim French said the company has a fast production line for this class of ships, which continues to get a better tangible result demonstrating the value of serial production.

"Each ship is built more effectively and more affordably than the one before it." 

"Each ship is built more effectively and more affordably than the one before it, and this is due to the hard work of our shipbuilders who are implementing efficient build plans and bringing our learning curve down as each ship is delivered. We look forward to starting construction on this ship in January 2015," French said.

Ingalls has already delivered the first three NSCs and has three more under construction.

The Hamilton (WMSL 753) will be delivered in the third quarter of this year, James (WMSL 754) will be launched in April, and the sixth NSC (WMSL 755) is scheduled for launch in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The seventh ship (WMSL 756) is scheduled for delivery in 2018.

Image: The third legend-class NSC, the USCGC Stratton (WMSL 752). Photo: courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.