The U.S. Coast Guard exercised a contract option on April 4 to purchase the service’s 16th and 17th HC-144A Ocean Sentry Maritime Patrol Aircraft from EADS North America. The option, worth $78.54 million, is part of a firm fixed-price contract awarded in August 2010 for three aircraft, with four options for up to six additional aircraft. Delivery of the 16th and 17th HC-144As is expected in 2014.
Under this contract, the Coast Guard has already taken delivery—on budget and ahead of schedule—of two HC-144As, the 12th and 13th for the service. The 14th aircraft is due for delivery by July. The Coast Guard exercised the first option on the contract for the 15th HC-144A in August 2011, and delivery is expected in the summer of 2013. The remaining two options left on the contract, for up to three aircraft, can be exercised in the next two years.
A fixed-wing turbo prop, the HC-144A 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. It is fully operational out of Coast Guard air stations at Mobile, Ala., and Miami.
The Coast Guard plans to acquire up to 36 HC-144As.
For more information: Medium Range Surveillance Aircraft project page