The U.S. Coast Guard took delivery this week of its 14th HC-144A Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft from prime contractor EADS North America. The Ocean Sentry is based on the Airbus Military CN235 tactical airlifter, more than 250 of which are currently in operation by 27 countries.
The latest aircraft will join a fleet of Ocean Sentries performing in a range of different roles from Coast Guard Air Stations in Cape Cod, Mass., Mobile, Ala., and Miami. The Coast Guard utilizes the Ocean Sentry's ten-hour endurance and advanced sensors for missions including search and rescue, drug and migrant interdiction, cargo and personnel transport, intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance, and disaster relief.
"We're very proud to support the Coast Guard as it executes an increasingly demanding variety of air and sea-borne missions with a limited number of assets. The Ocean Sentry is essential to the service's ability to rapidly and affordably project capability where it's most needed," said Sean O'Keefe, EADS North America Chairman and CEO.
The Coast Guard plans for a fleet of 36 Ocean Sentries. The latest aircaft delivery is the last of three HC-144As delivered under a base contract awarded to EADS North America in August 2010. The Coast Guard exercised options for three additional aircraft within the last year, calling for delivery of the 15th HC-144A in 2013, and aircraft 16 and 17 in 2014. The service can exercise options for up to three additional Ocean Sentries during the next two years.
Since it began service in 2008, the HC-144A has gained notoriety in high-profile missions ranging from responding to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and 2010 Haiti earthquake to interdicting narcotics smugglers in "drug sub" semi-submersibles.
EADS North America delivers the turboprop HC-144A 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 aircraft'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 can be removed and the cabin easily reconfigured. The rear ramp also can be opened in flight to deploy search-and-rescue equipment.
Source: European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS N.V. (Paris: EAD.PA)
Date: Jul 27, 2012