Tag Archives: US Coast Guard

First US Coast Guard Spartan gets colourful

The US Coast Guard (USCG) this week accepted its first HC-27J Spartan medium range surveillance aircraft in full USCG colours. The Asset Project Office in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, accepted the aircraft on 30 March.

The C-27J is one of 14 aircraft formerly in service with the US Air Force. Budget cuts forced the aircraft to be retired after only a few years of service, but the USCG was quick to snatch them up. The US Special Operations Command also took seven Spartans.


After retirement from the USAF, the aircraft were stored at the US Air Force’s 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group  (AMARG) in Tucson, Arizona. The first Spartan destined for the USCG was re-delivered to the coast guard’s station in Elizabeth City in November 2014.


The repaint was completed by Leading Edge Aviation Services in Fort Worth, Texas. This particular Spartan will be transferred to Air Station Sacramento, California, this summer to continue the station’s transition from the HC-130H to the C-27J.

Five Spartan aircraft have been in operation in Elizabeth City since completing the regeneration process; the Coast Guard is conducting test flights on a sixth aircraft at AMARG, where the process to bring the Spartans out of long-term preservation is completed.

Meanhwile, C-27J Spartan manufacturer Finmeccanica continues efforts to make the Spartan also Canada’s fixed wing search and rescue platform over sea.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): Smart looking Spartan (Image © USCG)

Meet the new Dauphin

Airbus Helicopters is working hard to move the Aérospatiale and Eurocopter legacy it absorbed into something new. The thrive towards the future will mean the end of the fairly popular Dauphin helicopter, in use with many rescue and government services worldwide. Or at least the end of the AS365 and EC155 Dauphins we know.

On 13 June 2015 the new Airbus Helicopters H160 made its first flight in Marignane in France, after successful ground testing in May. The flight – in so-called ground effect – lasted for 40 minutes and was mainly aimed to check the basic behavior of the chopper. During the second flight on 17 June the chopper reached 130 knots, close to the projected cruising speed of 160 knots (184 mph or 296 km/h).

Airbus Helicopters is aiming to put the H160 into service in 2018. Therefore two more prototypes will see the light of day, the first did a power-up test on 12 June, as well as two ground test airframes.

The Aérospatiale SA365/AS365 Dauphin has been in production ever since its first flight in 1975. More than 1,000 machines have been built, with one of the more recent deliveries to the Lithuanian Air Force.

Harbin Z-9
The Dauphin type is also manufactured under license as the Z-9 and derivatives by Harbin in China. Apart from use as a civilian platform and by the People’s Liberation Air Force (42+ aircraft) and Navy (34 aircraft), the Z-9 flies with the armed forces of Bolivia (12 delivered, 10 operational after two incidents), Cambodia (9), Cameroon (4 ordered, at least 2 operational), Ghana (4 ordered), Kenya (6), Laos (4), Mali (2 delivered), Mauritania (2 ordered), Namibia (2 delivered, 1 crashed), Pakistan (12) and Zambia (3 operational, 1 ordered).

The Harbin Z-9WE production model attack helicopter. Four similar aircraft have been obtained by Cambodia (Image © CATIC)

US Coast Guard
The US Coast Guard fielded the type as the HH-65 Dolphin and later MH-65 for search-and-rescue duties since the end of the seventies. A hundred machines are still in the inventory with the the type being upgraded to MH-65E standard. The M-version has weaponry and newer communication systems. The newest E-type has an so-called “all-glass” cockpit with newer navigation capabilities. The first will be introduced into the fleet in 2017.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information provided by Airbus Helicopters
Featured image (top): First flight of the H160 in June 2015 (Image © Thierry Rostan / Airbus Helicopters)

First Spartan for US Coast Guard

The first Alenia Aermacchi C-27J Spartan for the US Coast Guard arrived at the service’s HC-27J Asset Project Office in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on 13 November. It will be used to train and qualify aircrew and maintenance personnel, as well as develop flight and maintenance procedures for Coast Guard-specific mission profiles. Ultimately the aircraft will receive the equipment and systems needed to perform the full spectrum of Coast Guard missions.

The C-27J concerned – serial number 2714 – is one of 14 aircraft formerly in service with the US Air Force. Budget cuts forced the aircraft to be retired after only a few years of service, but the USCG was quick to snatch them up. The US Special Operations Command also took seven Spartans.

The airplane flew to Elizabeth City from the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group’s facility in Tucson, Arizona, where 13 of the 14 USCG C-27Js are stored. There, a Coast Guard team investigated the aircraft’s history, verified the details of its configuration and inventoried the installed components, performed extensive inspections and necessary maintenance actions, and conducted a functional check flight. The plane was then released for transit to Elizabeth City. The airplane is still painted in grey air force colours.

While the Spartan underwent regeneration, the USCG sent officers to Italy for training as C-27 pilots. A second C-27J should complete regeneration before the end of this year, and two others are expected to finish by mid-2015. The Spartans will operate next to 18 HC-144A Ocean Sentry aircraft, of which the last one was delivered in October.

Source: USCG, with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

The C-27J Spartan is US Coast Guard colours (Image © Alenia Aermacchi)
The above computer generated image shows a C-27J Spartan in US Coast Guard colours.
(Image © Alenia Aermacchi)

Final US Coast Guard Guardian jet retired

The Dassault HU-25 Guardian of the US Coast Guard (Image © USCG)
The Dassault HU-25 Guardian of the US Coast Guard (Image © USCG)

The US Coast Guard retired its last operational Dassault Falcon 20, designated HU-25 Guardian, on 23 September at Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi in Texas.

The HU-25 has been in service with the Coast Guard since 1982 and was used in search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, pollution response, and logistics missions. Together with only two (V)C-37As (Gulfstream Vs) the HU-25s made up the entire jet aircraft fleet for the USCG, with 41 HU-25 bought into the inventory. Now only the two VIP jets remain.

The Guardian’s mission will be taken over by the HC-144 Ocean Sentry, a maritime patrol version of the Airbus Military (CASA / EADS) CN235 propeller aircraft. Seventeen of the 18 aircraft ordered are already in service and fly (almost) daily from the US Coast Guard air stations. It is being supplemented by 14 C-27Js, that the USCG will “missionize” after receiving these from the US Air Force inventory.

Source: US Coast Guard

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