- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) - Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula has received a $76.5 million contract from the U.S. Coast Guard to purchase long-lead materials for Midgett (WMSL 757), the company’s eighth national security cutter.

“The long-lead material contracts give our shipbuilders the ability to immediately start construction of the ship if and when that contract is awarded,” Jim French, Ingalls’ NSC program manager, told The Mississippi Press (http://bit.ly/1quIDXg ).

“The advance procurement helps us get the best cost possible for equipment and materials and keeps the industrial base production line flowing,” he said.

The contract was announced Monday.

The money will buy major items for Midgett, including steel, the main propulsion systems, generators, electrical switchboards and major castings.

Ingalls has delivered the first three of the eight planned cutters. Bertholf (WMSL 750), Waesche (WMSL 751) and Stratton (WMSL 752) are in service.

A fourth, Hamilton (WMSL 753), will have builder’s sea trials later this summer, and the fifth, James (WMSL 754), recently launched and will be christened in August.

The keel for the sixth NSC, Munro (WMSL 755), will be laid later this year, Ingalls officials said.

The 418-foot ships are the Coast Guard’s newest class of technologically advanced cutters.

The Legend-class ships, which are replacing the 378-foot Hamilton-class cutters of the 1960s, can be used for a multitude of tasks, including drug interdiction, law enforcement, search and rescue, environmental protection and national defense missions.

They have a top speed of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 miles, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 110.

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Information from: The Mississippi Press, http://www.gulflive.com