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.

Re-delivery

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.

Repaint

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)

Three more Hercules aircraft for US Air Force

Lockheed Martin delivered three additional Hercules aircraft to the US Air Force last week, in three different configurations.

First out on 19 March was a MC-130J Commando II Special Operations tanker for the AFSOC 353rd Special Operations Group at Kadena Airbase in Japan. Also on 19 March a HC-130J for the US Coast Guard was ferried to Greenville, South Carolina, for post-production modifications and a paint job. The USCG expects this aircraft in 2016.

Finally, on 24 March a HC-130J Combat King II personnel recovery aircraft went to the 347th Rescue Group at Moody AFB in Georgia.

Source: Lockheed Martin
Featured image (top): This new MC-130J left for Kadena on 19 March 2015 (Image © Andrew McCurtie / Lockheed Martin)

The HC-130J on its way to the paint job on 19 March 2015. The aircraft will be delivered to the US Coast Guard in 2016  (Image © Andrew McCurtie / Lockheed Martin)
The HC-130J on its way to the paint job on 19 March 2015. The aircraft will be delivered to the US Coast Guard in 2016 (Image © Andrew McCurtie / Lockheed Martin)
This new HC-130J Combat King II left for Moody AFB on 24 March 2015  (Image © Todd R. McQueen / Lockheed Martin)
This new HC-130J Combat King II left for Moody AFB on 24 March 2015 (Image © Todd R. McQueen / Lockheed Martin)

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 Ocean Sentry for US Coast Guard

A HC-144 in its natural habitat. (Image © Airbus Defence & Space)
A US Coast Guard HC-144A in its natural habitat. (Image © Airbus Defence & Space)

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