HERNDON, Va., 18 May 2013. Officials at the U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center plan to transform a prototype CN235 aircraft into an HC-144A maintenance training unit, based on the Airbus Military CN235 tactical airlifter.
Engineers will transform the CN235, configuring it with systems from the HC-144. The systems will have built-in faults to provide maintenance personnel with the opportunity to learn troubleshooting on actual HC-144 aircraft.
"It is very satisfying to see this airframe being used as an integral part of the HC-144A program," says Sean O'Keefe, EADS North America chairman and CEO. "We look forward to its performing many years of service in training the technicians who will keep the fleet safe in the air."
More than 230 CN235 medium-range, twin-engined transport plane are in service around the world. The CN235, originally developed jointly by CASA of Spain and Indonesia’s IPTN as a regional airliner and military transport, performs such primary military roles as maritime patrol, surveillance, and air transport.
The EADS North America HC-144 Ocean Sentry medium-ranged, twin-engined aircraft is employed by the United States Coast Guard in search-and-rescue and maritime patrol missions. The HC-144 is manufactured by Airbus Military (formerly EADS CASA), and is based on the company's CN-235 transport.
The United States Coast Guard operates 14 HC-144A Ocean Sentry Maritime Patrol Aircraft and has four additional planes on order scheduled for delivery in 2013 and 2014. With the ability to remain airborne for more than 10 hours, the Ocean Sentry is performing a wide range of maritime patrol missions for the Coast Guard, including drug and migrant interdiction, disaster response, and search and rescue.
The HC-144A achieved initial operational capability with the Coast Guard in 2008, and now is operational from Coast Guard air stations in Mobile, Ala.; Cape Cod, Mass.; and Miami.
The USCG Aviation Technical Training Center in Elizabeth City, N.C., has similar training aids for other fleet aircraft, including the EADS Eurocopter MH-65 Dolphin helicopter. The HC-144 maintenance training unit will be the first of its kind for an Airbus Military aircraft when the transformation is complete.