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HC-144 Ocean Sentry
Role Search-and-rescue aircraft
Manufacturer Airbus Military (prime contractor EADS North America)
Introduction 2009
Status In active service
Primary user United States Coast Guard
Number built 15[1]
Developed from CASA/IPTN CN-235

The EADS HC-144 Ocean Sentry is a medium-ranged, twin-engined aircraft used by the United States Coast Guard in the search-and-rescue and maritime patrol missions. Procured as the "Medium Range Surveillance Aircraft", the HC-144 is manufactured by EADS North America and is based on Airbus Military's (formerly EADS CASA) CN-235 transport.

Design and Development

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 take-off 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

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;[3] thirteen Ocean Sentry aircraft were operational with the Coast Guard in January 2011.[4] A total of 36 aircraft are 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 to date, including involvement in the Marquis Cooper search-and-rescue mission,[5] the response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake,[6] environmental missions monitoring the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,[6] and transporting endangered marine animals for rehabilitation.[7]

The 15th HC-144 was delivered in June 2013, with three more scheduled for delivery through 2014.[1] The Coast Guard is 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 has responded by saying 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.[8]


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

Data from [9]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • 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


  1. 1.0 1.1 EADS North America Delivers 15th HC-144A Ocean Sentry to U.S. Coast Guard -, 5 June 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "MRS: Project Description". USCG:HC-144A "Ocean Sentry" Maritime Patrol Aircraft. United States Coast Guard. May 5, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-07. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Acquisition Update: HC-144A Maritime Patrol Aircraft Project Achieves Initial Operational Capability". USCG:Acquisition Directorate Newsroom. April 22, 2009. Retrieved 2011-01-07.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "CB" defined multiple times with different content
  4. "USCG:HC-144A "Ocean Sentry" Maritime Patrol Aircraft". United States Coast Guard. January 3, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-07. 
  5. Porter, Suzette (March 2, 2009). "Coast Guard confirms rescue of Nick Schuyler". Tampa Bay Newspapers. Retrieved 2011-01-07. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "EADS North America awarded U.S. Coast Guard contract for HC-144A Maritime Patrol Aircraft". EADS North America. August 23, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-07. 
  7. "Endangered sea turtles get a ride home from the Coast Guard". U.S. Coast Guard Visual Information Gallery. December 12, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-07. 
  8. Surplus C-27J Spartans Could Mean Big Windfall for Coast Guard -, August 2013
  9. U.S. Coast Guard: HC-144A "Features". Accessed 2011-01-07.

External links

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