The HC-144A Ocean Sentry Medium Range Surveillance aircraft is particularly effective at locating objects in large search areas, and vectoring other assets onto these objects for interception and inspection. The HC-144A aircraft has the capability to perform aerial delivery of search and rescue equipment (such as rafts, pumps and flares) and, with its sophisticated command and control system, can serve as a platform for an on-scene commander during homeland security missions.
The Ocean Sentry also has operational flexibility, with a rear ramp that allows crews to quickly reconfigure the aircraft for varied missions such as command and control, medical evacuation or passenger transport. The HC-144A cockpit provides superior situational awareness, allowing crews to better concentrate on their missions. Greater endurance allows the aircrew to remain on-scene longer, support other assets and track targets for longer periods of time. With an endurance of more than 10 hours, this fixed-wing, turbo-prop aircraft has an extensive sensor capability that helps the Coast Guard fulfill its maritime patrol, drug and migrant interdiction, disaster response, and search and rescue missions more effectively.
The roll-on/roll-off Mission Systems Pallet’s equipment enables operators to collect, manipulate and communicate information to other aircraft, surface vessels and shore commands. Approximately 90 percent similar to the systems found on the HC-130H/J Long Range Surveillance aircraft, the HC-144A’s MSP enables commonality in training of operators.The HC-144A is being acquired under a firm fixed-price contract with Airbus Defence and Space Inc. The 18th and final Ocean Sentry will be delivered before the end of 2014.