The HC-144 Ocean Sentry and the C-27J Spartan make up the Coast Guard’s medium range surveillance aircraft fleet. These aircraft are instrumental in providing the capability necessary for the Coast Guard to fulfill its maritime patrol, drug and migrant interdiction, disaster response, and search and rescue missions more effectively.
Why this program?
The program was established in fiscal year 2002 to
expand the Coast Guard’s patrol hour capacity and replace the aging aircraft
fleet. The Coast Guard needed greater endurance to remain on-scene longer and
track targets for longer periods of time. Improved sensor capability and
increased passenger capacity also were identified as necessary for better
How are the upgrades implemented?
The medium range surveillance fleet includes 18 HC-144 Ocean
Sentries. Ocean Sentries are capable of carrying out a wide range of Coast
Guard surveillance, search and rescue and transport missions and are outfitted
with Minotaur mission system workstations, which are comprised of an integrated
suite of electronic equipment that enables the aircrew to compile data from the
aircraft's multiple sensors to transmit and receive both classified and
unclassified information from other assets including aircraft, surface vessels
and shore facilities. With multiple voice and data communications capabilities
and satellite communications, the HC-144 is contributing, via a networked command
and control system, to the common tactical picture and common operating
picture. The aircraft is also equipped with a vessel automatic identification
system, direction-finding equipment, an electro-optical/infrared system and a
multi-mode search radar to improve the Ocean Sentry’s situational awareness and
The Coast Guard is also in the process of missionizing 14 C-27J
aircraft that were transferred from the U.S. Air Force under the direction of
the National Defense Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2014. The multi-year
project was supported by the HC-27J Asset Project Office (APO), which was stood
up in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Specific functionalities of the APO
included development of Coast Guard-specific operational and maintenance
procedures, training plans, technical manuals, a logistics program and test and
evaluation procedures. Airworthiness certifications were obtained for all
aircraft as part of the process.
originally delivered, the C-27Js are outfitted with weather radar and
communications equipment capable of supporting transport and other Coast Guard
missions. Missionization modifications, including integration of specialized
components such as surface search radar and electro-optical/infrared sensors, is
in the prototype phase and will enhance the aircraft’s capability to carry out
the full range of Coast Guard missions.