Below is a press release from the Acquisitions Directorate (CG-9).
Test flights on the HC-144B Minotaur prototype aircraft began in March. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
Acquisition Update: HC-144 Program Reaches Ocean Sentry Refresh, Minotaur Mission System Milestones
April 25, 2017
The Coast Guard’s HC-144 Ocean Sentry medium range surveillance (MRS) aircraft program reached two milestones last quarter. First, the HC-144 program received design approval and commenced Ocean Sentry Refresh (OSR) modifications at the Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Second, the program completed the Minotaur mission system suite prototype integration efforts and began test flights at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.
The OSR project upgrades the HC-144As with a new Flight Management System, which manages communication control, navigation and equipment monitoring. Upon completion of OSR upgrades, each aircraft is redesignated as an HC-144B. The Coast Guard’s Aircraft Configuration Control Board approved the HC-144B configuration and certified OSR upgrades as airworthy March 15. To date, two HC-144B aircraft have been produced: CGNR 2307, the prototype, and CGNR 2306, which validated and verified the changes.
Work to convert CGNR 2307 into the HC-144B Minotaur prototype began in July 2016, with integration and installation completed in January 2017. Coast Guard aircrews, along with Navy and industry personnel, began conducting test flights in March. Minotaur is mission system software architecture used across multiple Defense and Homeland Security department platforms. CGNR 2307 is scheduled for delivery this summer and is planned to enter service later this year.
For more information: HC-144 program page
Illustration: from email@example.com via Wikipedia
Earlier we talked about how the Beech King Air C-12 might serve as replacement for the UAV capability currently missing from the Coast Guard’s system of systems.
Now there is a report that ten to twelve MC-12Ws already equipped for ISR may be declared surplus by the Air Force.
I think they are worth a look as possible Coast Guard assets.
DHS might also consider these valuable assets for disaster response.
(Thanks to Lee for the Heads-up)
Interesting little note that proves again actions speak louder than words. An asset that supported the drug interdiction effort and helped in the Hurricane Katrina disaster relief is going away.
“…the Navy proposes to decommission a squadron at the air station in Belle Chasse, a move that would eliminate the only naval aviation unit dedicated to stemming the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States. Under the 2013 spending plan released Monday, the Navy Reserve’s Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 77 would cease to exist Sept. 30…. the Navy ‘remains committed’ to countering narcotics trafficking.”
“VAW-77…played an instrumental role in the massive rescue operation following Hurricane Katrina. With their electronics and radar…the aircrews helped control airspace crowded with rescue helicopters. The squadron takes credit for rescuing 1,840 people in the New Orleans area.”
I suppose the surface surveillance capability may be replace by the BAMS program, still too frequently, it seems, a capability is removed with the promise that it will be replaced by a wonderful new system, only to see the new system become unaffordable and never come to fruition.
DoD photo by: MC3 (SW) JOHN HYDE, USN Date Shot: 13 Jul 2006
(Thanks to Lee for the info)