The HU-25 Guardian is a medium-range surveillance fixed-wing aircraft. Also referred to as the Coast Guard's "Falcon", the aircraft is a military derivative of the Dassault Falcon 20 business jet, of which more than 500 were built for worldwide use. The HU-25 performs search and rescue, law enforcement such as migrant and drug interdiction, marine environmental protection, and military readiness. The first of 41 HU-25s was delivered in February 1982 and deliveries were complete by December 1983. The HU-25A and HU-25D are 56ft 3in in length (the HU-25C is 57ft 6in), with a wingspan of 53ft 6in and height of 17ft 7in. The service ceiling is 42,000ft, though current avionics restrict operations to 28,000ft and below. Maximum cruise speed at altitude is 420kts, with a maximum operating speed of .855 Mach. Sea-level maximum airspeed is 350kts.
Key features of the Falcon include its dash speed and capable mission sensors. The three models of the HU-25 (-A, -C, and –D) are distinguished by their sensor complement. The HU-25A has an APS-127 surface search radar. The HU-25C has an APG-66 air-to-air/surface search radar, electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor, and tactical workstation. The HU-25D has an APS-143B multi-mode radar, EO/IR and tactical workstation. A sensor upgrade program in 2002-03 improved capabilities in HU-25Cs and reconfigured 6 HU-25As into HU-25Ds. An avionics upgrade in 2005-06 upgraded the navigation system with modern equipment common to the HH-65B.
Most of the HU-25s have been decommissioned already, with complete phase-out by 2014. They will be replaced by the HC-144A Ocean Sentry.
Mobile, AL: HU-25 static display for the 30th Anniversary Ceremony held at ATC Mobile. The HU-25 has been in service with the CG since April 2nd, 1982 and has logged over 500,000 flight hours with an estimated 74,000 SAR flight hours and 244,000 LE hours. With the Falcons departing ATC and Corpus Christi in 2014, the USCG HU-25 era will come to an end, but they won’t stop inspiring and they won’t stop being part of the fabric of Coast Guard history – as one of the fastest overwater rescue assets of all time. HU25s are continuing to be national assets as 5 are currently serving with distinction at NASA and USAF facilities conducting research and national security missions.