Coast Guard Adds To Air Patrol Fleet
A European flavor has been added to the aircraft fleet patrolling the U.S. coastline. The Coast Guard has ordered two EADS CASA CN235-300M Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA). The new aircraft, made by the same European consortium that makes Airbus jetliners, are the first in a multiyear, multi-aircraft acquisition in the Integrated Deepwater System's (IDS) modernization program for the Coast Guard. The IDS Program is aimed at modernizing and replacing the Coast Guard's aging surface and air fleet. Delivery of two stock airframes is scheduled for early 2006 with modification to the aircraft to be completed by late 2006. The total number of CASA CN235-300M aircraft to be introduced has not been disclosed, but the Coast Guard says "the right mix of the CASA, the medium-range aircraft, and the HC-130 patrol aircraft, the long-range aircraft, will provide the Coast Guard the ability to meet overall system requirements." This mix of ships, airplanes, helicopters, and unmanned air vehicles ensures full interoperability while meeting the full range of Coast Guard missions, including homeland security.