High Endurance Cutter
WHEC 723
Photographed by
Rob Mackie
San Francisco Fleet Week
October 1997

Twelve High Endurance Cutters are currently in service with the United States Coast Guard. Most of them are stationed on the US West Coast and Hawaii. These 378' ships are the largest cutters, aside from the two Polar Class Icebreakers, ever built for the United States Coast Guard. Powered by diesel engines and gas turbines, they have a range of 14,000 miles. Equipped with a helicopter flight deck, retractable hangar, and the facilities to support helicopter deployment, high endurance cutters were introduced to the Coast Guard starting in 1967 when the Hamilton (WHEC-715) was commissioned, and some of them saw service in Vietnam. Beginning in the 1980s and ending in 1992, the entire class was modernized through the Fleet Renovation and Modernization (FRAM) program. Among many other things, weaponry and electronics were modernized, and the FRAM cutters gained redesigned (and massive) fore/mainmasts. So if you're thinking about scratch-building a high endurance cutter model, you'll need to choose between the old and the "new" versions.

I photographed Rush in October 1997. The sleek lines and white livery make these high endurance cutters among the most striking of modern military/patrol vessels. Let's hope one of the resin kit producers does a 1:700 or 1:350 kit. These ships would make very attractive display models.

High Endurance Cutters

Vital Statistics
Displacement 3,250 tons Length 378'  Beam 43'
Two diesel engines/two gas turbine engines
Maximum speed 29 knots   Endurance 14,000 miles
Primary Missions: Law Enforcement, Defense Operations, Search & Rescue
One Mark 75 76-mm gun (anti-air capable)
Two 25-mm machine guns
One 20-mm Phalanx, Close-in weapons system (CIWS)

Complement: 167 (19 Officers, 148 Enlisted)
Ships in Class: see below

378-foot WHECs in Service:

  • BOUTWELL (WHEC 719)  Alameda, CA

  • CHASE (WHEC 718)  San Diego, CA

  • DALLAS (WHEC 716)  North Charleston, SC

  • GALLATIN (WHEC 721)  Charleston, SC

  • HAMILTON (WHEC 715)  San Pedro, CA

  • JARVIS (WHEC 725)  Honolulu, HI

  • MELLON (WHEC 717)  Seattle, WA

  • MIDGETT (WHEC 726)  Seattle, WA

  • MORGENTHAU (WHEC 722)  Alameda, CA

  • MUNRO (WHEC 724)  Alameda, CA

  • RUSH (WHEC 723)  Honolulu, HI

  • SHERMAN (WHEC 720)  Alameda, CA

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Nice view
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Bridge and 76mm gun
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View from bridge
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Looking aft from bow
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Bridge and foremast closeup
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Forecastle details
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Telescoping hangar
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Looking aft from bridge
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Hangar and mainmast
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Foremast and bridge details
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Foremast closeup
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Foremast and bridge details
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Foremast details
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View from flight deck looking forward
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Midship details
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Mainmast and funnels
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Mainmast tripod, funnels
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Transom stern and CIWS
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Mainmast radar array closeup
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Looking forward from stern
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25mm machine gun
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CIWS mounted on stern
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CIWS details

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