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First missionized Coast Guard HC-27J completes inaugural flight


Coast Guard CGNR 2712 takes to the air for the first time following completion of Minotaur missionization at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. The aircraft serves as the missionization prototype for the HC-27J medium range surveillance aircraft. U.S. Navy photo by Shelly Gray.

The Coast Guard successfully performed the first flight of the newly missionized HC-27J prototype aircraft, CGNR 2712, today at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland. The milestone flight is part of the Coast Guard’s effort to enhance its fixed-wing surveillance aircraft fleet with improved capabilities to gather, process and transmit information during maritime patrol aircraft joint operations.

The flight was a culmination of efforts by the Coast Guard’s Aviation Projects Acquisition Center and Medium Range Surveillance Aircraft program office along with Naval Air Systems Command’s Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division AIRWorks Team and the original equipment manufacturer, Leonardo Aircraft Division (LAD). The first flight of the HC-27J was a modified functional check flight and was tailored to exercise the program’s Safety of Flight and Safety of Test systems prior to fully proceeding into the flight test phase. The initial flight tests will be performed by the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 HC-27J test team with support from the Coast Guard and LAD at NAS Patuxent River.

The Coast Guard is in the process of missionizing 14 C-27J aircraft that were transferred from the U.S. Air Force under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014. As originally delivered, the C-27Js were outfitted with weather radar and communications equipment. Missionization refers to the process of integrating specialized equipment, such as radar, sensors and processors, that enhance the aircraft’s effectiveness in carrying out Coast Guard missions. The Coast Guard is using Minotaur mission system architecture developed by the Navy across its fixed wing fleet to integrate the specialized components such as surface search radar and electro-optical/infrared sensors because it offers significant increases in speed and memory capability.

CGNR 2712 before and during the HC-27J’s first flight as a Minotaur-missionized Coast Guard medium range surveillance aircraft at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. U.S. Navy photos by Erik Hildebrandt.

For more information: Medium Range Surveillance Program page and Minotaur Program page