U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod crews stood watch as the service’s newest HC-144A Ocean Sentry Maritime Patrol Aircraft took off on its initial operational patrol Jan. 22, 2013.
The HC-144A Ocean Sentry replaces the HU-25 Falcon, which has been the primary fixed-wing aircraft for more than 30 years providing search and rescue, law enforcement, medical transportation and other services to the Northeast. The last HU-25 Falcon will be officially retired from Air Station Cape Cod later this year.
The HC-144 Ocean Sentry, received by Air Station Cape Cod in August 2012, is a more efficient platform with enhanced capabilities to remain in the air for a greater amount of time. The radar and imagery sensors represent the latest in technologies, and the aircraft’s cargo ramp increases the amount of gear and supplies that can be delivered to a vessel or persons in distress.
Air Station Cape Cod is schedule to receive an additional HC-144 Ocean Sentry this summer.
"We are extremely excited to serve the public with the HC-144 Ocean Sentry," said Lt. Dan Cloonan, Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod's public affairs officer. "It is a very capable aircraft and will be able to respond to the numerous missions the Coast Guard performs."
Recently, the Coast Guard ordered the service’s 18th HC-144A Ocean Sentry from EADS North America. The option, worth $39.79 million, is part of a firm fixed-price contract originally awarded in 2010. Delivery of the 18th HC-144A Ocean Sentry is expected in 2015.
A fixed-wing turbo prop, the HC-144A Ocean Sentry is a derivative of the EADS/Airbus Military CN-235 used around the world. With an endurance of more than 10 hours as well as extensive sensor capability and passenger capacity, this medium-range surveillance aircraft helps the Coast Guard fulfill its maritime patrol, drug and migrant interdiction, disaster response, and search and rescue missions more effectively.
With this milestone, Air Station Cape Cod becomes the third Coast Guard Air Station to operate HC-144A Ocean Sentries, joining Air Stations in Mobile, Ala., and Miami. A fourth operating site will be established at Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas in 2014.
The Coast Guard plans to acquire up to 36 HC-144A Ocean Sentries.For more information on the HC-144A Ocean Sentry, please visit the project’s website at http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/MRS.