U.S. Coast Guard gets 13th HC-144A Ocean Sentry aircraft
Jan. 30, 2012, Herndon, Va. - Prime contractor EADS North America has delivered the 13th HC-144A Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft to the U.S. Coast Guard, 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 currently in operation by 27 countries.
The HC-144A is replacing the Coast Guard's aging fleet of HU-25 "Guardian" jets and some older HC-130H aircraft, and has seen service in a wide variety of missions since achieving initial operational capability with the Coast Guard in
2008. Earlier this month, an HC-144 crew located a private aircraft that had gone down in waters off the coast of Andros, Bahamas, and provided support for a successful rescue of the two passengers by Coast Guard helicopter.
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.
"The Coast Guard must perform a demanding and varied set of missions over enormous distances, so it is absolutely critical that they have a full fleet of aircraft with the range and versatility that the Ocean Sentry provides," said
Sean O'Keefe, EADS North America chairman and CEO. "We're proud that the HC-144A is playing such a vital role in protecting Americans every day."
This is the second Ocean Sentry delivery under a contract awarded in 2010, which calls for a 14th HC-144A in 2012 and includes remaining options for up to five additional aircraft. The Coast Guard exercised an option for a 15th
HC-144A in August 2011. Coast Guard plans call for acquiring a total of 36 HC-144As.
The turboprop 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. 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. 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.