WASHINGTON — On October 1, 2010, the U.S. Coast Guard's Office of International Acquisition announced that its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program awarded a contract valued at $157.9 million to EADS North America to produce and configure four CN235-300M maritime patrol aircraft for Mexico. The contract also includes aircrew and maintenance training, ground support equipment, and initial spare parts.
The CN235-300M are similar to the U.S. Coast Guard’s HC-144As (i.e., maritime patrol aircraft). The first aircraft delivery will occur no later than December 2011, and the fourth aircraft delivery will occur by April 2012. The FMS Letter of Offer and Acceptance for the first of these aircraft was accepted by the Government of Mexico (GOM) on November 13, 2009. Then, with additional funding made available in 2009, the GOM decided to procure three additional aircraft along with the associated training, contract logistics support, and spare parts on May 26, 2010.
These sales resulted from the Merida Initiative, a program of security cooperation between the United States and the government of Mexico and the countries of Central America, which was established to increase collaboration and shared responsibility for combating the threats of drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and money laundering.
Partially due to these sales, the Coast Guard’s FMS program has had its best year ever—doing more than $264 million in new projects in fiscal year 2010. The program’s success is a significant milestone in executing the Joint Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower. This document, codified in October 2007, outlines an unprecedented, unified maritime strategy for the U.S. Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy and their international partners to keep the seas free and open for commerce, thwart pirates and smugglers, and prevent sea-borne terrorist attacks.
More than 40 nations have received over 115 excess boats and cutters and more than 135 new procurement boats under the Coast Guard’s FMS program. The delivered assets range in size from 25-foot Defender-class response boats to 210-foot Reliance-class cutters. In addition to saving the Coast Guard over $30 million in disposal costs, these deliveries have strengthened U.S. national security in the maritime domain, helped promote international sea service partnerships and helped build the maritime capacity of our strategic allies.
The Foreign Military Sales program was established within the Office of International Affairs to execute excess defense article transfers. The office implemented its first new procurement foreign military sales case in 2001 through the Navy International Programs Office. More than 90 percent of foreign military sales management and execution is funded via the Navy International Programs Office from the Department of Defense foreign military sales administration trust fund, a pooled fund supplied via a surcharge assessed to foreign purchasers on every FMS case. The Foreign Military Sales program was transferred to the Deepwater Program Executive Officer in 2005, which became part of the larger Acquisition Directorate in July 2007.