ville, S.C., plant under the existing contract; one is being
missionized as the prototype Minotaur Mission System
Suite [MSS] at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.; and
one is in depot-level maintenance. The ninth aircraft will
be delivered to the Coast Guard in baseline configuration
and will be missionized in the future to include the new
mission system based on the Minotaur suite. Two ad-
ditional aircraft — the 10th and 11th — have been ordered
and are in production at Lockheed Martin Corp. for deliv-
ery [of baseline aircraft] in 2016 and 2017. Funding for a
12th aircraft was included in the fiscal 2015 Department of
Homeland Security Appropriations Act and was recently
transferred to the Air Force for a future contract action.”
The Minotaur MSS, used on the Navy’s EP-3E Orion
electronic surveillance aircraft, is going to be standardized
across the Coast Guard’s fixed-wing fleet, including HC-
130Js, HC-144s and C-27Js, by initial installation or by
retrofit. The MSS is an open-architecture system that inte-
grates sensors and communications systems and enables
transmission of surveillance data to a ship or shore station.
The MSS became necessary to stem software obsolescence and parts unavailability of the currently
installed mission systems. The MSS will help to lower
life-cycle costs by sustainment by the existing maintenance and logistics structure. First flight of an HC-
130J with the Minotaur is expected in early 2016,
according to a May 9 Coast Guard release.
The service issued a Request for Proposals on March
9 for integration of the MSS into up to five C-130Js.
The proposals were due for submission on June 3.
“Competitive contract and
award for missionization of future
airframes as well as retrofitting
existing aircraft with the Minotaur
mission system suite is pending,”
Naval Air System Command
“currently is studying sensors to
include in the C-27J mission system. Missionized C-27J aircraft will
be redesignated HC-27Js,” he said.
Another area that will be affected by the Fleet Mix Studies will be
the number of required Coast
Guard aviators and enlisted aviation personnel. The number of
active-duty aviators is 1,130, of
which 825 are helicopter pilots.
The Navy trains about 80 Coast
Guard aviators each year, on average. The number of enlisted aviation personnel is 3,056.
With the acquisition of the 14 C-
27Js, the cancelation of 18 HC-
144As and the transfer of seven HC-130Hs, the requirement for aviation personnel may change.
“The transfer of the C- 27 is being incorporated into
the current study that will revise the aviation portfolio,”
Saylor said. “Once we have a revised acquisition portfo-
lio, a manpower analysis will determine the amount of
aviation personnel required to meet mission needs.”
With regard to unmanned aviation, the future for
the Coast Guard is less defined.
“The Coast Guard continues to evaluate available
unmanned aerial systems [UASs] and how they can be
used aboard the National Security Cutter [NSC],”
Saylor said. “The acquisition will provide UAS capabil-
ity to provide persistent surveillance and detection uti-
lizing an available military/commercial off-the-shelf
system. The Coast Guard has conducted several tech-
nical demonstrations from 2012 to 2014 to help
inform the acquisition process, and in 2015 received
$6.3 million from Congress to fund the acquisition.
Because the Coast Guard has fairly unique challenges
due to operational requirements, we are currently
researching the state of the market, maintaining aware-
ness of technological developments, and have been
working with our federal partners to identify the
The Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center
has done extensive evaluation of unmanned aerial vehicle
options, he said. The Coast Guard also is leveraging its
Naval Air Systems Command relationships for further
integration and evaluation operations on the NSC. ■
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 40 SEAPOWER / JULY/AUGUST 2015
Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, received its first of three HC-
144 Ocean Sentry aircraft, June 12, 2014, marking the beginning to the modernization of the service’s medium-range fixed-wing maritime law enforcement
and search-and-rescue fleet in South Texas. The original Coast Guard program
of record of 36 HC-144s was cut in half after the transfer of 14 C-27J aircraft
from the Air Force was approved in December 2013.