The U.S. Coast Guard's C-27J
For the first time at the Farnborough International Airshow, the U.S. Coast Guard’s C-27J is on display, in its traditional livery with high visibility colours.
Of the 14 aircraft destined for the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and employed in Search And Rescue (SAR) missions, the Sacramento base (California) received its fourth aircraft on 1 July ), while another three are in use at the Elizabeth City base (North Carolina). The aircraft have already logged over 1,750 flight hours, including 1,300 for training, 147 in support of law enforcement, 50 spent in SAR missions and 249 in other activities.
The aircraft were immediately called into service: a few days after the delivery of the first aircraft, the C-27J was sent to assist a promptly sighted and then successfully rescued vessel in distress.
Thanks to its excellent characteristics in terms of range, up to 12 hours of endurance in the operational theatre, speed and payload, the 14 C-27J destined for the U.S. Coast Guard can be used for medium-range maritime surveillance, missions to counter illicit trafficking, rapid response missions for disaster or natural calamities relief, Homeland Security and, of course, Search And Rescue.
The new equipment
In collaboration with Leonardo, the U.S. Coast Guard plans to equip the aircraft with Minotaur, a complete, dedicated mission system with surface search radar, electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) search sensors, a C4ISR suite (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), and bubble observer windows to allow the aircraft to discover, classify and identify maritime targets. In particular, the images and radar tracks from the onboard sensors can be sent to other Defense or Homeland Security Department users. The C-27Js after the reconfiguration will be named HC-27J: the first one will be completed in 2017.
Leonardo can also provide maximum support to USCG for the reconfiguration of the aircraft, taking advantage of the know-how gained during the development of the MC-27J configuration and preparation of the C-27J FWSAR (Fixed Wing Search And Rescue) technical and commercial proposal for the Royal Canadian Air Force, including potential commonalities at the configuration level.
At the customer’s service, on the ground
Leonardo’s Aircraft Division is an integral part of the U.S. Coast Guard project, offering an efficient and steady support to the HC-27J Asset Project Office (APO), formed specifically at the Elizabeth City base for the introduction of the newly reconfigured aircraft into the USCG ranks and, on the ground, through the Field Service Representative (FSR), who provides the customer with the necessary technical and logistics support.
In flight to conquer the North American market
The C-27J's entry to service within the USCG squadrons provides an ideal platform for medium-range SAR, ensuring maximum commonality in terms of avionics and propulsion with the fleet of HC-130J Hercules already in service. This is an important and favourable element for the upcoming Canadian choice in the FWSAR programme, which is focused on an aircraft with very similar characteristics to the U.S. Coast Guard’s HC-27J.