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EADS HC-144 Ocean Sentry

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HC-144 Ocean Sentry
Role Search-and-rescue aircraft
National origin Spain
Manufacturer Airbus Military (prime contractor EADS North America)
Introduction 2009
Status In active service
Primary user United States Coast Guard
Number built 18[1]
Developed from CASA/IPTN CN-235

The EADS HC-144 Ocean Sentry is a medium-range, twin-engined turboprop aircraft used by the United States Coast Guard in the search-and-rescue and maritime patrol missions. Based on the Airbus Military CN-235, it was procured as a "Medium Range Surveillance Aircraft." The HC-144 is supplied by Airbus Group, Inc, formerly EADS North America, and is built in Spain by Airbus Military.

Design and development[edit]

Intended to replace the Dassault HU-25 Guardian jet,[2] the HC-144A Ocean Sentry is part of the Coast Guard's Integrated Deepwater System Program of recapitalization and new-asset acquisition. Based on the CN-235-300 MP Persuader, the maritime patrol version of the CN-235 military transport, the HC-144 offers a longer endurance than the HU-25 it is replacing in U.S. Coast Guard service, as well as better performance in the low-level observation role.[2]

The HC-144A has an eight-hour endurance, which makes it suited for the command and control and search and rescue roles. Its rear ramp provides for transport of standard cargo pallets. It also features short takeoff and landing capability.


The HC-144A uses electronic systems on the Mission System Pallet roll-on, roll-off electronics suite from Lockheed Martin,[3] that connects to the aircraft's systems upon installation.[2] The HC-144A's equipment is similar to the Coast Guard's HC-130 aircraft, which reduces maintenance and training costs.[2]

Operational history[edit]

The first HC-144 was delivered to the U.S. Coast Guard in December 2006.[2] Initial Operational Capability (IOC) was achieved in April 2009;[4] thirteen Ocean Sentry aircraft were operational with the Coast Guard in January 2011.[5] A total of 36 aircraft were planned to be procured, with twelve Mission System Pallets being swapped between the operational aircraft.[3]

The HC-144A has been involved in several missions during its career, including involvement in the Marquis Cooper search-and-rescue mission,[6] the response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake,[7] environmental missions monitoring the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,[7] transporting endangered marine animals for rehabilitation,[8] and being involved with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. In June 2014, the Coast Guard's fleet of 17 HC-144s reached 50,000 flight hours, five years after achieving IOC. The Ocean Sentry is flown more hours per airframe in a year than any other Coast Guard aircraft.[9]

The 15th HC-144 was delivered in June 2013.[10] The Coast Guard was considering supplementing the HC-144 with former Air Force C-27J Spartan aircraft. Budget strains have caused the service to reconsider acquiring a 36-plane fleet. Cancelling the remaining 18 to be manufactured and replacing them with up to 14 decommissioned C-27Js would save between $500–$800 million. Converting the Spartans to search-and-rescue aircraft would be faster and cheaper than funding and delivery of the full order. EADS responded by stating that the HC-144 is half as expensive to maintain and operate compared to the C-27J in terms of direct maintenance and fuel costs, calling into question the idea as a cost-saving measure.[11] With the signing of the U.S. Defense Authorization Bill for Fiscal Year 2014 on 26 December 2013, the Coast Guard was given control of the 14 remaining C-27Js available.[12] The 16th HC-144 was delivered on 22 January 2014,[13] the 17th on 7 April 2014,[14] and the 18th and final HC-144A was delivered on 7 October 2014.[1]

On 22 September 2017, a ceremony was held in Mobile, Alabama where Airbus and the Coast Guard celebrated the crafts' 100,000th hour of operation in service.[15] The Coast Guard is only the third aircraft operator to reach 100,000 hours on this type aircraft, and the fastest to do so (only 8 years). Estimates are the type will reach 200,000 hours in Coast Guard service by 2022.


An HC-144A and U.S. Navy MH-53E at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Data from [16]

General characteristics

  • Crew: six
  • Length: 70 ft 3 in (21.41 m)
  • Wingspan: 84 ft 8 in (25.81 m)
  • Height: 26 ft 10 in (8.18 m)
  • Wing area: 636 sq ft (59.1 m2)
  • Empty weight: 21,605 lb (9,800 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 36,380 lb (16,502 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × General Electric CT7 turboprop, 1,870 shp (1,390 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 272 mph (437 km/h, 236 kn)
  • Range: 1,801 mi (2,898 km, 1,565 nmi)
  • Endurance: 8.7 hours

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era


  1. ^ a b US Coast Guard receives 18th HC-144A Ocean Sentry Archived 2019-03-07 at the Wayback Machine – Shepgardmedia.com, 8 October 2014
  2. ^ a b c d e "MRS: Project Description". USCG:HC-144A "Ocean Sentry" Maritime Patrol Aircraft. United States Coast Guard. May 5, 2010. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-07.
  3. ^ a b Biesecker, Calvin (August 3, 2010). "USCG Awards EADS $117 Million Contract For Three HC-144A Aircraft". USCG:Acquisition Directorate Newsroom. Defense Daily. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-07.
  4. ^ "Acquisition Update: HC-144A Maritime Patrol Aircraft Project Achieves Initial Operational Capability". USCG:Acquisition Directorate Newsroom. April 22, 2009. Archived from the original on November 30, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-07.
  5. ^ "USCG:HC-144A "Ocean Sentry" Maritime Patrol Aircraft". United States Coast Guard. January 3, 2011. Archived from the original on December 13, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-07.
  6. ^ Porter, Suzette (March 2, 2009). "Coast Guard confirms rescue of Nick Schuyler". Tampa Bay Newspapers. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-07.
  7. ^ a b "EADS North America awarded U.S. Coast Guard contract for HC-144A Maritime Patrol Aircraft". EADS North America. August 23, 2010. Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-07.
  8. ^ "Endangered sea turtles get a ride home from the Coast Guard". U.S. Coast Guard Visual Information Gallery. December 12, 2010. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved 2011-01-07.
  9. ^ Airbus HC-144A Ocean Sentry Aircraft Fleet Surpasses 50,000 Flight Hours With US Coast Guard Archived 2018-07-04 at the Wayback Machine – Marketwired.com, 26 June 2014
  10. ^ EADS North America Delivers 15th HC-144A Ocean Sentry to U.S. Coast Guard – EADSNorthAmerica.com, 5 June 2013
  11. ^ Surplus C-27J Spartans Could Mean Big Windfall for Coast Guard Archived 2013-08-04 at archive.today – Nationaldefensemagazine.org, August 2013
  12. ^ US Coast Guard to acquire USAF's remaining C-27J Spartans Archived 2018-02-19 at the Wayback Machine – Flightglobal.com, 6 January 2014
  13. ^ USCG receives 16th Ocean Sentry MPA Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine – Shephardmedia.com, 22 January 2014
  14. ^ Airbus Defense and Space Inc. Delivers 17th HC-144A Aircraft to US Coast Guard Archived 2016-05-09 at the Wayback Machine – Marketwired.com, 7 April 2014
  15. ^ "Airbus, Coast Guard celebrate 100,000 hours in the air". Archived from the original on 2018-02-14. Retrieved 2019-07-27.
  16. ^ U.S. Coast Guard: HC-144A "Features" Archived 2010-12-01 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 2011-01-07.

External links[edit]