Airbus Military, via the prime contractor EADS North America, has delivered the 13th HC-144A Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft to the U.S. Coast Guard from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain, two months ahead of the contractual delivery date. The HC-144A is based on the Airbus Military CN235 tactical airlifter, more than 250 of which are operated by 27 countries.
In addition to search and rescue, the Coast Guard is utilizing the Ocean Sentry’s superior endurance and flexibility for missions including maritime patrol, cargo and personnel transport, intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance, and disaster relief.
This is the second Ocean Sentry delivery under a contract awarded in 2010, which calls for a 14th in mid-2012 and includes remaining options for up to five additional aircraft. The Coast Guard exercised an option for a 15th in August 2011. Coast Guard plans call for acquiring a total of 36 HC-144A Ocean Sentries.
The HC-144A can remain airborne for more than nine hours, compared to just four hours for the legacy HU-25 jet that it is replacing. Airbus Military delivers the Ocean Sentry equipped with a search radar, electro-optical and infrared cameras, an Automatic Identification System for data collection from vessels at sea, and a communications suite.
The Ocean Sentry’s rear cargo ramp enables easy loading and unloading of the Coast Guard's palletized mission system. During airlift, cargo, and MEDEVAC missions, the mission system is removed, freeing up the large cabin for additional transport capacity. The rear ramp also can be opened in flight to deploy search-and-rescue equipment.
Source: Airbus, an EADS N.V. company (Paris: EAD.PA)
Date: Jan 30, 2012