Flip Side of Coast Guard Tech Woes: Airplanes Doing Fine

25.05.08

Categorie: Air, Naval |

a-coast-guard-hh-65c-at-the-atlantic-city-air-station-over-the-atlantic-ocean-december-5-2006.JPGYes, the Coast Guard’s $25-billion Deepwater technology scheme is a mess, with late and over-budget ships, canceled contracts and one $500-million frigate that can’t talk to the outside world. But there’s a bright side: aviation, as I wrote in the latest Warships International Fleet Review:

Aviation efforts have been fairly successful. EADS provided kits for 96 engine upgrades to HH-65 short-range rescue helicopters (pictured) and has delivered the first of 36 HC-144 patrol planes based on its C-235 transport. In February, an HC-144 flew the type’s debut rescue mission searching for the pilots of two Air Force F-15 fighters that collided in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin is upgrading the Coast Guard’s six HC-130J and 16 HC-130H Hercules long-range patrol planes, so far without any problems.

And the Coast Guard’s own Aircraft Repair Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, is converting the service’s 42 HH-60J medium-range rescue choppers into armed MH-60T models, with the new mission of carrying counter-terrorism teams on dangerous boarding missions. The upgrade adds door guns, armor and new infra-red and daytime sensors. The new MH-60Ts are representative of the Coast Guard’s transformation for the post-September 11 world.

Deepwater’s ships and airplanes aren’t walled off from each other, however, and rising costs across various programs has forced the Coast Guard to defer ambitious plans to outfit ships with a vertical-takeoff robot. Too bad.

(Photo: me)

|

2 Responses to “Flip Side of Coast Guard Tech Woes: Airplanes Doing Fine”

  1. Michael DeKort says:

    The surface assets and training facility failed TEMPEST. Seems to me it follows that the shore stations may too? What about the aircraft? I asked for the DD-250s/open items for the aircraft months ago and haven’t received any response. Far longer than the law permits. Who was the CTTA who accepted the aircraft and shore stations relative to TEMPEST and IA? Ron Porter?

  2. Jim McPearson says:

    I think the $500 million frigate costs actually more than that, around $650 million. This is even by the Coast Guard’s own admission through its press releases. It appears that 2 very successful projects within Deepwater are being handled by the Coast Guard. That is the re-engining of the helicopters and the extensive overhaul of the 110 foot patrol boats and medium endurance ships at the Coast Guard Yard. There is not that much publicity over the Spanish-provided maritime patrol craft for Deepwater. The other recent major publicity about the aviation program with Deepwater is that the Coast Guard canceled after spending over $95 million the unmanned aerial vehicle program through Lockheed due to developmental issues. It will be interesting to see if the Coast Guard picks an unmanned aerial vehicle that is extensively supported by the Navy.

Leave a Reply