Coast Guard officials formally accepted the twelfth Mission Systems Pallet (MSP) for the HC-144A "Ocean Sentry" Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) on December 20, 2010. This is the final MSP delivery under the Integrated Coast Guard System (ICGS) Deepwater contract and represents a significant milestone in the project’s acquisition of these new aviation assets.
Slated to replace the Coast Guard's aging fleet of HU-25 "Guardian" Medium Range Surveillance Aircraft, the HC-144A significantly enhances the mission capabilities of Coast Guard aircrews. The fixed-wing turbo prop aircraft, a derivative of the EADS/CASA CN-235-300, provides invaluable on-scene loitering capabilities while performing various missions, including maritime patrol, law enforcement, search and rescue, disaster response, cargo and personnel transport.
The MSP is a roll-on, roll-off suite of electronic equipment that enables the aircrew to compile data from the aircraft's multiple integrated sensors to transmit and receive both classified and unclassified information from other assets including other aircraft, surface vessels and shore facilities. With multiple voice and data communications capabilities, as well as satellite communications, the HC-144A will contribute, via a networked Command and Control system, to the Common Tactical Picture and Common Operating Picture. The aircraft is also equipped with a vessel Automatic Identification System, direction finding equipment, an Electro-Optical/Infra-Red system and a multi-mode search radar to improve the Ocean Sentry’s situational awareness and responsiveness.
"We are extremely pleased to have completed this monumental milestone by receiving the final delivery of all HC-144A and MSP assets under the original ICGS contract," remarked Captain James Martin, Coast Guard Acquisition Aviation Program Manager. "As the Coast Guard transitions to the system integrator role for all future aircraft and mission system pallet deliveries, we want to express our appreciation for all of the hard work and dedication of those responsible for this achievement. The HC-144A MPA with installed MSP has quickly proven to be an extremely capable multi-mission asset in support of Coast Guard and DHS missions."
The fully mission capable HC-144A MPA is scheduled to begin initial operational test and evaluation in September, 2011. In addition to the twelve MSPs, eleven HC-144A aircraft were delivered through ICGS. In July, 2010, three additional HC-144A MPA were contracted for delivery with EADS-North America, with options for six more aircraft over the next four years.
For more information, check out the HC-144A "Ocean Sentry" Web site.