Info Request–MH-68

I have received a request for information on past Coast Guard operations that I could not answer, but perhaps a reader could help:

I wonder if you can help me out. I’m just conducting some research into the embarked operation of the A109 (MH-68A in USCG speak) at sea. I am trying to find out if the USCG ever embarked the MH-68A for extended periods and, if they did, were the main rotor blades of the helicopter folded to allow it to be stowed in the ship’s hangar? Do you know if this was the case? Or did they remain on deck? Or completely remove the blades each time the aircraft was stowed?

I believe the Philippine Navy is operating this aircraft off their 378s now.

Just for fun, I added the video above. It does not show the aircraft being hangared, but it does show the boots used over the rotor tips to keep them from flapping in the wind, when the helo was secured on the flight deck. Beside it includes one of my favorite 378 COs.

Anyone know if the MH-68 was ever hangared on shipboard?


HC-144 Gun Ship?

An American company (ATK, Alliant Techsystems Inc now part of Northrop Grumman), is modifying the same basic airframe used for the Coast Guard HC-144 (the EADS CASA, now Airbus Military, CN-235) into a miniature AC-130 for the Jordanian Air Force. Source. (Note due to a broken link I have updated the post with an alternative source for the story.)

File:HC-144A Ocean Sentry (2).jpg


“ATK will install and integrate electro-optical targeting systems, a laser designator, aircraft self-protection equipment, and an armaments capability that includes Hellfire laser-guided missiles, 2.75-inch rockets, and a M230 link-fed 30mm chain gun.  ATK’s M230 family of guns serves on the Apache helicopter….ATK’s scope of work includes development, systems integration, aircraft modification, and testing.  Work will be performed in Jordan and at ATK facilities in Fort Worth, TX, Mesa, AZ and Pelham, AL.”

Looks like if we ever want to add an “airborne use of force” to these  aircraft, there is a source that will have already had the experience.