New CN235s for US Coast Guard
Airbus Military has announced that the US Coast Guard has exercised a $78.5 million contract option to purchase two additional HC-144A Ocean Sentry Maritime Patrol Aircraft based on the CN235 tactical airlifter. They will be the service’s 16th and 17th HC-144As.
According to the company, the option is part of a contract awarded in August 2010 for three aircraft, plus options for up to six additional aircraft. Under this contract, Airbus Military, via prime contractor EADS North America, has already delivered 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, with delivery expected in 2013. The 16th and 17th aircraft will be delivered in 2014. The remaining options left on the contract, for up to three additional aircraft, can be exercised sometime in the next two years. Coast Guard plans call for acquiring a total of 36 HC-144As.
The HC-144A has the ability to remain airborne for more than ten hours, and is designed to perform a wide range of missions for the Coast Guard, including maritime patrol, drug and migrant interdiction, disaster response, and search and rescue. The HC-144A achieved initial operational capability with the Coast Guard in 2008, and today is fully operational from Coast Guard air stations in Mobile, Ala., and Miami.
Airbus Military, via EADS North America, delivers the HC-144A equipped with a search radar, electro-optical and infrared cameras, an Automatic Identification System for data collection from vessels at sea, and a communications suite.
The Ocean Sentry’s rear cargo ramp enables easy loading and unloading of the Coast Guard's palletized mission system. The mission system can be removed for airlift, cargo, and MEDEVAC missions, freeing up the large cabin for additional transport capacity. The rear ramp can be opened in flight to deploy search-and-rescue equipment.
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