The U.S. Coast Guard recently exercised a contract option to purchase the service’s 15th HC-144A “Ocean Sentry” Maritime Patrol Aircraft from EADS North America for $41 million. This is the fourth HC-144A purchased under this contract, which was awarded in August 2010 for three aircraft and included four options for up to six more.
The Coast Guard accepted delivery of its 12th HC-144A in late July, four months earlier than the contractual delivery date. The 13th and 14th aircraft are already under contract.
“In addition to the two HC-144As already under contract, the Coast Guard has exercised the first of four contractual options to purchase the 15th HC-144A,” explained Ron McIntire, HC-144A project manager. “The remaining options will allow the Coast Guard to contract for up to five more aircraft over the next three years.”
The HC-144A is a medium-range surveillance aircraft that is used to perform search and rescue, enforce laws and treaties, interdict illegal drugs and migrants, transport cargo and personnel, and conduct marine environmental protection, military readiness, homeland security and International Ice Patrol missions.
The HC-144A has been involved in several high-profile missions, including the Coast Guard’s responses to the 2010 Haiti earthquake and to last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
A fixed-wing, turboprop aircraft, the Ocean Sentry is a derivative of the EADS/CASA CN-235 in use around the world as a patrol, surveillance and transport aircraft. The HC-144A’s loitering ability, endurance, extensive sensor capabilities and passenger capacity are well-suited to the Coast Guard’s many missions. The HC-144A also features superb fuel efficiency, consuming significantly less fuel than the HU-25 Falcon jets it is replacing.
For more information on the HC-144A Ocean Sentry, please visit the project’s website at http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/MRS.