MADRID: The US Coast Guard has ordered three additional Airbus Military CN235s through EADS-North America, which is the prime contractor for EADS military and defence products sold into the United States.
The US Coast Guard, which holds options for up to six more aircraft over the next four years, is using the CN235s as Maritime Patrol Aircraft, under the designation HC-144A Ocean Sentry. The contract for the three HC-144As is valued at US $117 million.
The HC-144 is based on the CN235 of which more than 250 are in operation in 26 countries. It plays a crucial role in Coast Guard aviation missions that include maritime patrol, ntelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance, cargo and personnel transport, as well as disaster relief.
The aircraft achieved initial operational capability last year, and has since distinguished itself with exceptional performance in a variety of situations, including the Coast Guard’s responses to the Haiti earthquake and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. HC-144s have even been used to transport rehabilitated wildlife affected by the spill.
“The men and women of the Coast Guard have an incredibly wide-ranging and challenging mission, and we are proud to provide them with an aircraft that matches their flexibility and readiness,” said Sean O’Keefe, EADS North America CEO. “This year we’ve seen the Ocean Sentry tested in some very high-profile missions, and it has delivered every time.”
Adds Airbus Military Managing Director Domingo Ureña: “This repeat order by the US Coast Guard is a great honour for us. It demonstrates that the CN235 is delivering on its promises and that they are very confident in the value of their ‘Ocean Sentry’ aircraft for their future needs. This is really a great success for our product.”
The Coast Guard currently operates ten Ocean Sentries and will receive another later this year. The newly ordered aircraft are to be delivered from 2011. Plans call for the Coast Guard to acquire a total fleet of 36 Ocean Sentries. The HC-144A is replacing the Coast Guard’s aging fleet of HU-25 Guardian Falcon jets.
Based on the Airbus Military CN235 platform, the HC-144A will be fitted with a search radar, electro-optical and infrared cameras, an Automatic Identification System for data collection from vessels at sea, and a communications suite. A rear ramp allows for easy cargo operations, and also accommodates a roll-on-roll-off mission systems pallet that the Coast Guard is acquiring separately for the Ocean Sentry. The HC-144 offers superior range and loiter time, allowing it to stay on station longer during search and rescue, patrol or persistent surveillance operations.
Able to carry up to six tonnes of payload and a maximum cruise speed of 240 kt (450 km/h), the CN235 is able to take off from and land on short, semi-prepared runways with soft surfaces thanks to its Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) characteristics and the strong landing gear with tandem low-pressure tyre.
Its excellent handling qualities, high manoeuvrability and fast engine (two General Electric GE CT7-9CE-3,1750 shp) response allow safe critical operations at a very low altitude. Outstanding reliability and supportability result in high aircraft availability and the lowest life cycle cost (LCC) in its class. The CN235 MPA is in operation with the USCG, the Irish Air Corps and the Civil Guard in Spain, among others.
Airbus Military is the only military and civic transport aircraft manufacturer to develop, produce, sell and support a comprehensive family of airlifters ranging from three to 45 tonnes of payload. Within Airbus, Airbus Military is responsible for the A400M programme, as well as the Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) A330 and for further military derivatives based on Airbus civil aircraft. Together with the smaller C295, CN235 and C212, Airbus Military is the global leader in the market segments for light and medium-sized military transport aircraft. Altogether Airbus Military has sold more than 1,000 aircraft with over 650 flying with more than 100 operators worldwide.