Airbus Group’s Defense and Space division has delivered the 18th and final HC-144A Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft to the Coast Guard, the company said on Oct. 7.
The final HC-144A will operate from a Coast Guard Air Station in Mobile, Ala.
The aircraft are based on the Airbus CN235 tactical airlifter and are equipped for a range of medium-range patrol missions including drug and migrant interdiction, disaster response, search and rescue and more.
Original plans had called for the Coast Guard to acquire 36 HC-144As but tightening budgets led the service to favor a plan to accept 14 C-27 medium-range airlifters from the Air Force’s inventory, saving it hundreds of millions of dollars. The first C-27 is expected to arrive at the Coast Guard’s Air Logistics Center within a month.
All but one of the C-27s will be “regenerated” by the Air Force at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Ariz., where excess military aircraft are stored to take advantage of the dry climate. The aircraft, built by a division of Italy’s Finmeccanica, will be missionized for Coast Guard maritime patrol aircraft operations.
Airbus said that the Coast Guard’s Ocean Sentry fleet recently completed its first 50,000 hours of flight. Mike Cosentino, president of Airbus Defense and Space, Inc. said his company “will provide technical engineering services and spare parts for decades to come” for the HC-144A.