EADS awarded USCG contract for HC-144A Maritime Patrol Aircraft
The U.S. Coast Guard has awarded prime contractor EADS North America a $117 million contract for three HC-144A Ocean Sentry Maritime Patrol Aircraft, with options for up to six more aircraft over the next four years. The HC-144A is based on the highly successful Airbus Military CN235 tactical airlifter, more than 250 of which are in operation by 26 countries.
The Ocean Sentry plays a crucial role in Coast Guard aviation missions that include maritime patrol, intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance, cargo and personnel transport, and disaster relief.
The HC-144A achieved initial operational capability last year, and has since distinguished itself with exceptional performance in a variety of situations, including the Coast Guard’s responses to the Haiti earthquake and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Ocean Sentries have even been used to transport rehabilitated wildlife affected by the spill.
“The men and women of the Coast Guard have an incredibly wide-ranging and challenging mission, and we’re proud to provide them with an aircraft that matches their flexibility and readiness,” said Ralph D. Crosby Jr., EADS North America Chairman. “This year we’ve seen the HC-144A tested in some very high-profile missions, and it has delivered every time.”
The Coast Guard currently operates ten Ocean Sentries and will receive another later this year. EADS North America will begin deliveries of the aircraft covered by this latest contract award in 2011. Plans call for the Coast Guard to acquire a total fleet of 36 Ocean Sentries. The HC-144A is replacing the Coast Guard’s aging fleet of HU-25 Guardian Falcon jets.
EADS North America will deliver 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. A rear ramp allows for easy cargo operations, and also accommodates a roll-on-roll-off mission systems pallet that the Coast Guard is acquiring separately for the Ocean Sentry. The HC-144 offers superior range and loiter time,allowing it to stay on station longer during search and rescue, patrol or persistent surveillance operations.
The Coast Guard also operates the EADS North America HH-65C and MH-65C Dolphin helicopters. The Dolphin has a distinguished service record with the Coast Guard – including extensive operations in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and again in the Haiti earthquake and Gulf oil spill responses. The service’s Dolphin helicopter fleet has been upgraded with new engines and systems/avionics in recapitalization programs supported by EADS North America.
Source : European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company