Coast Guard to run FRC-B programmeThe US Coast Guard hasassumed responsibility fromIntegrated Coast GuardSystems (ICGS) fordeveloping the Fast ResponseCutter B (FRC-B).The decision follows criticism ofthe Northrop Grumman/LockheedMartin consortium over the designof the National Security Cutter(NSC). Both this design and FRCAwere reported to have potentialweaknesses in their hulls althoughthis has been vehemently deniedby ICGS which states the reviseddesigns have been accepted as safeby the Coast Guard (NavalSpyglass Vol 3 No 6).FRC-B will be for a dozen hullsand will be worth some $600million. It is designed as a stop gapsolution. They will probably bebased on proven designs with arequest for proposals anticipatednext month.But Congressional concernabout alleged rising costs, said byICGS to be due to modificationsin requirements following theTwin Towers attack, has ledSenator John Kerry to introducelegislation preventing the CoastGuard from signing a new ICGScontract when the old oneconcludes in June. He is seeking acompetition to provide a newframework for upgrading the CoastGuard.