AIRBUS DEFENCE and Space announced on October 7 that it has delivered the 18th and final HC-144A Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft of the current order to the US Coast Guard. The aircraft will join a fleet that operates from Coast Guard Air Stations in Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Mobile, Alabama; Miami, Florida and, most recently, Corpus Christi, Texas.
The HC-144A has replaced the US Coast Guard’s HU-25 Guardian in the maritime patrol role following the retirement of the final example of the latter on September 23 at CGAS Corpus Christi.
The USCG had planned to buy a total of 36 HC-144As, but it now seems unlikely that there will be any further orders beyond the 18 now delivered. This is because approval was granted in December to transfer 14 of the US Air Force’s retired C-27J Spartans to the US Coast Guard. Thus there is now no requirement for the additional Ocean Sentries, as the C-27Js will fulfil a similar role. Alan Warnes