The U.S. Coast Guard has exercised a contract option to purchase the service's 18th HC-144A Ocean Sentry Maritime Patrol Aircraft from prime contractor EADS North America. The HC-144A is based on the Airbus Military CN235 tactical airlifter. More than 230 CN235 aircraft are currently being operated by 29 countries.
"Every HC-144A that enters the fleet expands the service's ability to meet its increasingly demanding and diverse mission," said Sean O'Keefe, EADS North America Chairman and CEO. "We're proud to continue to provide such a vital capability."
The option is part of a contract awarded to EADS North America in July 2010 for three aircraft, plus options for up to six additional aircraft. Under this contract, EADS North America has already delivered three HC-144As -- the 12th, 13th and 14th for the service -- all on budget and ahead of schedule. The 15th aircraft is due for delivery the first half of 2013, while the 16th and 17th will be delivered in early 2014. The 18th aircraft is planned for delivery by the end of 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.
EADS North America delivers the HC-144A 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. 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: European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS N.V. (Paris: EAD.PA)
Date: Feb 5, 2013