HC-144A Delivers New Maritime
Patrol Capability to Coast Guard
The HC-144A is a maritime patrol
aircraft designed for search-and-rescue, surveillance and law
enforcement operations as part of
the U.S. Coast Guard’s Integrated
Deepwater System, the 25-year,
$24-billion effort to acquire new
ships, aviation assets and intelligence and communications networks. It is the first completely
new Deepwater aviation asset
delivered by Lockheed Martin and
Integrated Coast Guard Systems
(ICGS), the industry team that
includes Northrop Grumman.
The Coast Guard plans to purchase
36 HC-144s by 2017. Lockheed
Martin is responsible for integrating
the aircraft and its command, control, communications, computers
and intelligence mission system pallet into Deepwater. Built by EADS
CASA in Spain, the aircraft will serve
as a medium-surveillance, medium-lift platform, with a range of more
than 2,300 nautical miles and top
speeds of 270 miles per hour.
The Coast Guard awarded an initial contract for three HC-144As in
2003, and Lockheed Martin will
deliver the first fully missionized
aircraft in March for operational
test and evaluation.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Michael McGuire, program manager for Lockheed Martin, has been
with the company since 2004. He is
a former U.S. Navy P- 3 pilot and
works out of the Deepwater ICGS
program office in Arlington, Va.
The Coast Guard has a pretty difficult mission: It needs to be all
things to all people. The medium-range surveillance mission is a
big piece of what the Coast Guard has to do. The roll-on/roll-off capability is significant in that this aircraft will carry standard Department of
Defense pallets, so they can carry standard cargo. We also moved the mission system onboard, so now two operators in the back have a mission system with the most up-to-date avionics.
One of the significant things for this aircraft is that now the Coast
Guard is working toward a common operating picture. Rather than just
radioing things back to say what was seen, there is now a real-time node
that a commander can utilize with this aircraft. Having the aircraft as an
integral part of the command, control, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability is going to be a paradigm shift for the
Coast Guard. That is especially important given the changes in requirements generated by the homeland security mission.
I’ve spent 23 years in Navy P- 3 Orion aircraft, and I’ve seen a lot of different missions systems. This aircraft is really going to be a significant
jump in capability for the Coast Guard.
This is the first new Deepwater asset being delivered. I’m incredibly excited about it. This is going to allow these guys to reach out and do the job.
Right now, they’re really overloaded. If we can get this system out there,
reduce the operator interface, and give them a reliable air vehicle and
mission system, then we’ve done more for them than you know.