July 12, 2016: The first C-27J aircraft in the traditional United Coast Guard livery of red, white and blue make its European debut at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK, one of the world's leading showcases for the Aerospace and Defence sector.
The USCG (United States Coast Guard) is progressing with the integration of the C-27J aircraft into its fleet of aircraft for medium range maritime patrol and surveillance or MRSA (Medium Range Surveillance Aircraft ), undertaking maritime patrol, drug and other illicit traffic interdiction, disaster response, and search and rescue (SAR) missions.
The C-27J’s are fitted with weather radar and cockpit compatible with NVG (Night Vision Goggle) and communications equipment capable of supporting transport and other Coast Guard missions.
Entry into service of the C-27J with the USCG and its upgrade to a fully missionized configuration will make it an ideal platform for mid-range search and rescue missions and will be a further proof of the excellent capabilities and operational flexibility of the aircraft produced by Leonardo - Finmeccanica. The aircraft will ensure maximum commonality in avionics and propulsion with the HC-130J Hercules fleet in service and will be very similar to the FWSAR, Fixed Wing Search and Rescue C-27J version proposed to the Royal Canadian Air Force.
The so-called C-27J missionization, its range, the ability to remain in the area of operation for up to 12 hours, and the speed and payload of the aircraft produced by Leonardo - Finmeccanica, make the C-27J the a precious asset, bridging the existing USCG requirement gap in terms of SAR capability over the sea.
The U.S. Coast Guard intend to equip the aircraft with surface search radar and electro-optical/infrared sensors (EO/IR), a C4ISR suite (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), bubble observation windows and a mission system called Minotaur, all to enhance capacity for search, classification and identification of maritime targets of the aircraft. In particular, it will be possible to send images from the onboard sensors and radar traces to other Defense or Homeland Security Department users. The integration of mission systems and testing of a prototype HC-27J will be made by the Minotaur Mission System Integration Lab (M2SIL) at the U.S. Navy’s Patuxent River Naval Air Station. To this end, the USCG has already requested collaboration with Leonardo-Finmeccanica, in particular for the installation of electro - optical turret (EO/IR) and other changes given priority in order to accelerate the transformation of the aircraft’s Search and Rescue configuration.
Photo Credit: Leonardo-Finmeccanica