HC-144A Ocean Sentry: Aircraft profile
The Ocean Sentry, HC-144A, is the first all-new aircraft delivered to the Coast Guard as part of the Deepwater Program’s progressive modernization and recapitalization of aging legacy assets.
The HC-144A’s Mission System Pallet (MSP) brings a new era of C4ISR to USCG aviation and Maritime Domain Awareness. The first pallet is undergoing Tempest and E3 testing. A few added capabilities are:
* Enhanced operational awareness implemented via installation of the USCG Common Operational Picture
* Greatly improved surveillance sensors Automatic Identification System (AIS)
o Improved surveillance radar performance
o New electro-optical surveillance systems (visible light and infrared)
o Mission system data recording
* New Law Enforcement Communications Suite
* Enhanced encryption capabilities
The HC-144A’s mission pallet contributes to the overall “Maritime Domain Awareness.” With the Deepwater Command-and- Control (C2) System, the aircraft can serve as an effective platform for on-scene commander functions. Information collected by the aircraft is transmitted to the Coast Guard’s shore-based Maritime Domain Awareness Center, which in turn posts relevant data to a common operational picture shared by command centers, cutters and aircraft in the area.
Greater endurance allows the aircrew to remain on station longer, collect more information, support other assets, and track targets for longer periods of time. The aircraft will be particularly effective at locating targets in large search areas and vectoring other assets to complete the mission. More fuel efficient than the HU-25 Guardian, the aircrew can remain on-scene until an intercept is made by surface vessels.
For Lt. Cmdr. Christopher A. Buckridge, aircraft commander of HC-144A No. 2303, greater endurance translates to operational effectiveness. “We can stay airborne —taking into consideration variables like total weight—about seven to nine hours useful time, vs. four hours maximum in a Falcon,” Buckridge said. “So we will see twice the operational flight time.”
The aircraft’s design allows it to be reconfigured for a variety of missions, while retaining at least minimum functionality with the aircraft’s sensors.. Its hydraulically operated rear ramp allows for easy roll-on and roll-off of provisions. The aircraft also can be quickly reconfigured for such missions as medical evacuation and the transport of passengers and time-sensitive supplies.
First Aircraft: HC-144A
The Deepwater Program marked an important milestone in its recapitalization of Coast Guard aviation Dec. 21, 2006, when the first HC-144A medium-range maritime patrol aircraft (MRS MPA) touched down at the Coast Guard Aviation Repair and Supply Center (ARSC) in Elizabeth City, N.C.
“The delivery of the first MRS MPA is a critical milestone in our ongoing efforts to acquire and deliver more capable and interoperable assets and systems to our Coast Guard crews,” said Rear Adm. Gary T. Blore, Assistant Commandant for Acquisition. “When this aircraft and others like it enter operational service, they will help to narrow our existing gaps in maritime surveillance in many important ways.”
Once outfitted with a mission system pallet for C4ISR and other mission-specific capabilities at ARSC, each aircraft is flown to the Coast Guard's Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Ala for operational tests and evaluation before entering into Coast Guard service.
The Coast Guard will use the HC-144As to perform homeland security and search and rescue missions, enforce laws and treaties including illegal drug interdiction, marine environmental protection, military readiness, and international ice patrol missions, as well as cargo and personnel transport. The size, range and reconfiguration capabilities will fully enable the execution of the multiple missions performed by the Coast Guard.
* Equipped with a state of the market Rockwell-Collins Flight 2 glass cockpit instrument panel, autopilot & avionics suite for a two-person aircrew
* Mission equipment pallet –interoperable with that of the HC-130J long-range surveillance aircraft and includes:
o C4ISR equipment for enhanced situational awareness;
o improved surveillance through radar and electro-optical/infrared sensors systems;
o mission data recording; a first-responder/law enforcement and marine communications suite;
o enhanced secure data encryption capabilities.
Source: US Coast Guard
More photos: HC-144A Ocean Sentry photo gallery
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