The U.S. Coast Guard has exercised a contract option to purchase the service’s 18th HC-144A Ocean Sentry Maritime Patrol Aircraft. The HC-144A is based on the Airbus Military CN235 tactical airlifter and is delivered by prime contractor EADS North America. More than 230 CN235 aircraft are currently being operated by 29 countries.
“The HC-144A is becoming the Coast Guard’s primary maritime patrol aircraft, and we’re proud of the central role it is playing in executing the service’s increasingly demanding mission,” said Antonio Rodriguez-Barberan, Airbus Military Senior Vice President Commercial.
The option is part of a contract awarded in July 2010 for three aircraft, plus options for up to six additional aircraft. Under this contract, three HC-144As, the 12th, 13th and 14th, have already been delivered for the service – all on budget and ahead of schedule. The 15th aircraft is due for delivery in the first half of 2013, while the 16th and 17th aircraft will be delivered in early 2014. The remaining options left on the contract, for up to two additional aircraft, can be exercised during 2014. Coast Guard plans call for acquiring a total of 36 HC-144As.
With the ability to remain airborne for more than ten hours, the Ocean Sentry is performing a wide range of missions for the Coast Guard, including maritime patrol, drug and migrant interdiction, disaster response, and search and rescue. The HC-144A achieved initial operational capability with the Coast Guard in 2008, and today is operational from Coast Guard air stations in Mobile, Ala., Cape Cod, Mass., and Miami.
Airbus Military equips the 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 Ocean Sentry’s rear cargo ramp enables easy loading and unloading of the Coast Guard's palletized mission system. The mission system can be removed for airlift, cargo, and MEDEVAC missions, freeing up the large cabin for additional transport capacity. The rear ramp can be opened in flight to deploy search-and-rescue equipment.
Source: Airbus, an EADS N.V. company (Paris: EAD.PA)
Date: Feb 5, 2013