The Famous class cutters are the only medium endurance cutters in the Coast Guard equipped with a helicopter hanger which can accommodate either a single HH-65 Dolphin, or HH-60J Jayhawk. The Famous cutters were also the first to be equipped with automated command and control information management system. All cutters of this class are assigned to the Atlantic Ocean, where their primary missions are maritime law enforcement and search and rescue.
There are 13 members of this class of 270-foot medium endurance cutter. The USCGC Bear, the first of class, was laid down at the Tacoma Boatbuilding Company yard in August of 1979, launched in September of 1980, and entered commissioned service in February of 1983. The next three ships of this class were also constructed at the TBC yard until a lawsuit filed by the Robert E. Derecktor Corporation resulted in the Tacoma contract being invalidated and the remaining nine ships of the class being built at the RED yards. The final ship of the class, the USCGC Mohawk was commissioned in March, 1991.