The US Coast Guard has taken delivery of the 18th and final HC-144A Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft, Airbus Defense and Space reported on Tuesday 7 October 2014. The latest HC-144A will join a fleet of Ocean Sentries operating from Coast Guard Air Stations in Cape Cod (MA), Mobile (AL), Miami (FL) and most recently Corpus Christi (TX). This month Air Station Corpus Christi turned over the maritime patrol mission to the HC-144 after the retirement of the last HU-25 Guardian aircraft.
The HC-144 Ocean Sentry is based on the Airbus CN235 tactical airlifter, with more than 235 currently in operation by 29 countries. The first aircraft was delivered to the US Coast Guard in Decemer 2006. The type achieved initial operational capability (IOC) with the US Coast Guard in 2008. Since then, the fleet accumulated well over 50,000 hours of flight. The type spends more hours in the air than any other Coast Guard aircraft.
The total fleet was planned to be 36 aircraft, but this was cut in half. The gap is being filled with 14 C-27J Spartan aircraft originally destined for the US Air Force.
Source: Airbus Defense and Space, with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest