Aircraft Based On The Same Airframe As U.S. Coast Guard's HC-144A Ocean Sentry
EADS North America has delivered the fourth and final Airbus Military CN235-300 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) to be supplied to the Mexican Navy under a U.S. Coast Guard managed foreign military sales agreement. The Coast Guard employs the CN235-300 in the HC-144A Ocean Sentry configuration for a range of missions, including search and rescue, disaster relief and drug interdiction. In March, a Coast Guard HC-144 crew used the aircraft's sensor capabilities to locate and help interdict a semi-submersible "drug sub" in the Western Caribbean Sea.
EADS North America delivered its 13th HC-144A Ocean Sentry to the U.S. Coast Guard earlier this year. Last month, the Coast Guard exercised a contract option for deliveries that will bring the service's Ocean Sentry fleet up to 17 aircraft. The service ultimately plans to acquire up to a total of 36 of the twin-engine turboprops. Mexico was the first U.S. foreign military sales customer for the highly successful Airbus Military CN235 tactical airlifter family, more than 250 of which are already in operation by 27 countries. EADS North America is also supplying spares provisioning, ground support equipment and associated training for the Mexican Navy aircraft.
"We're proud that the HC-144A has proven to be such a powerful asset in the U.S. Coast Guard mission to protect the security of our nation," said Sean O'Keefe, EADS North America Chairman and CEO. "Likewise, we're proud to have served America's national interests by delivering a similarly important capability to the Mexican Navy."
The CN235-300 MPAs enhance Mexico's ability to support the Mérida Initiative, a cooperative security arrangement between the U.S., Mexico and Central American countries. Missions for the new aircraft include drug interdiction, homeland security, search and rescue, cargo and personnel transport, military readiness, and maritime environmental protection.
The MPA configuration of the CN235 incorporates the latest technology developed for surveillance over the sea. The combination of a Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) system and search radar allows the aircraft to locate and track ships to conduct thorough patrols of a coastline. The Automatic Identification System (AIS) and the Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) help make this aircraft the ideal tool to carry out military surveillance missions for the Mexican Navy. The FITS was developed by Airbus Military and ensures that the extensive data gathered by the aircraft's onboard sensors can be easily used by the crew to execute their mission.