The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved a revised Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) for the U.S. Coast Guard’s HC-144A “Ocean Sentry” Maritime Patrol Aircraft on February 6, 2009. This top-level management tool outlines an updated total acquisition cost estimate of $2.2 billion for all 36 HC-144As and associated equipment. The cost increase is due to added requirements for a full-motion simulator, facilities upgrades, engineering changes (address obsolescence), realistic sparing procurement, the Euro-Dollar exchange rate, commodities price increases, and increased contractor program management costs. This is a revision to the HC-144A’s baseline total acquisition cost of $1.7 billion, which was first established in November 2006. The revised APB includes two separate increments:
APBs are important tools to establish key cost, schedule and technical performance parameters throughout all phases of an acquisition project. An approved APB represents a contract between the Milestone Decision Authority, DHS, and the Project Manager, the U.S. Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate. It serves to help contain cost growth due to scope changes, schedule slip and requirements creep. The Coast Guard continuously monitors and assesses the APB’s key parameters - cost, schedule and performance -throughout the project. An approved APB facilitates departmental and Coast Guard oversight of the project.
Coast Guard officials formally accepted the sixth HC-144A MPA in November 2008 in Seville, Spain, from where it departed on its trans-Atlantic journey to the Coast Guard’s Aviation Logistic Center in Elizabeth City, NC., in February 2009. Delivery and acceptance of two additional aircraft are expected prior to May, 2009. An additional three aircraft and nine pallets were placed on contract in November 17, 2008, and are scheduled for delivery by December 2010. The current HC-144A fleet either delivered or on contract, is eleven aircraft and twelve pallets.
As the Service’s replacement for the aging fleet of HU-25 Falcon fan jets, the “Ocean Sentry,” a derivative of the EADS/CASA CN-235-300, significantly enhances the mission capabilities of Coast Guard aircrews while consuming significantly less fuel. This fixed-wing, twin-engine, turboprop aircraft provides initial on-scene loitering capabilities and enables the performance of various missions, including maritime patrol, law enforcement, search and rescue, disaster response, and cargo and personnel transport.
When equipped with a roll-on, roll-off Mission System Pallet suite of electronic equipment, the crew is able to process data from the aircraft’s multiple integrated sensors and transmit/receive both classified and unclassified information to/from other assets, including local, state, and federal first responders and law enforcement agencies. With multiple voice and data communications capabilities, the HC-144A will be able to contribute to a Common Tactical Picture and Common Operating Picture through a networked Command and Control system. To improve its maritime domain awareness and responsiveness, the aircraft is also equipped with a vessel Automatic Identification System, direction-finding equipment, surface search radar, an Electro-Optical/Infra-Red system, and Electronic Surveillance Measures equipment.
For more information on the HC-144A Ocean Sentry, please visit the project’s website at http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/MRS.