The HC-144A Ocean Sentry Maritime Patrol Aircraft is becoming the United States Coast Guard’s primary maritime patrol aircraft, leveraging the production excellence of Airbus Military along with the customer support of program prime contractor EADS North America.
The Coast Guard has accepted delivery of 15 HC-144As as of June 2013, with three additional aircraft on order for delivery in 2013 and 2014. In all, the military service plans to acquire up to 36 of these maritime patrol aircraft to serve a wide range of missions, including: drug and migrant interdiction, disaster response and search and rescue.
Since its service entry, the HC-144A platform with the ability to remain airborne for more than 10 hours has exceeded the Coast Guard’s expectations while performing a variety of roles from Coast Guard Air Stations in Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Mobile, Alabama; and Miami, Florida.
This CN235-based platform was chosen for the Coast Guard’s challenging and diverse mission due to its versatility, cost-efficiency and multi-mission capabilities – factors that have helped the Ocean Sentry exceed Coast Guard expectations since its formal service entry in 2009.
The HC-144A’s success was underscored in June 2013 with its selection as the Department of Homeland Security’s Acquisition Program of the Year. According to the award citation, the Coast Guard’s HC-144A program “effectively and efficiently delivered planned capability to their customers within cost and schedule.” The program also was praised for its innovative approach to controlling and avoiding risk, and for sharing improved processes with other offices.
As the prime contractor, EADS North America supports delivery and in-service operation of Ocean Sentries with its 13,000-sq. ft. customer service and training facility adjacent to the Coast Guard’s Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Alabama.
In addition, the company is supplying spare parts and related services; providing technical assistance on HC-144A airframes and mission systems; delivering specialized ground support equipment; and has developed computer-based training programs for Coast Guard personnel.
HC-144As are provided to the Coast Guard 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.