HERNDON, Va., April 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard says it is acquiring two more HC-144A Ocean Sentry Maritime Patrol Aircraft from EADS North America.
The planes will be delivered in 2016 and are the 16th and 17th HC-144As ordered from the prime contractor under a contract option worth $78.5 million.
"The HC-144A is central to the Coast Guard's ability to execute its increasingly demanding mission and we're proud to continue to deliver this critical capability on time and on cost," said Sean O'Keefe, EADS North America chairman and chief executive officer.
The HC-144A is based on the CN235 tactical airlifter of Airbus Military, which has headquarters in Spain and which is a subsidiary of pan-European EADS in the Netherlands.
The aircraft is a twin-engine turboprop with a cruising speed of about 282 miles per hour and a range of more than 3,000 miles. It can carry 44 passengers and more than 30,000 pounds of cargo. In addition to transport, it can be used for maritime patrol, surveillance and search and rescue.
The aircraft for the Coast Guard are equipped with search radar, electro-optical and infrared cameras, an Automatic Identification System for data collection from vessels at sea and a communications suite.
The option under which the aircraft are being purchased is part of a 2010 contract. EADS North America has already delivered two of the planes -- the 12th and 13th -- purchased by the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard is planning for a total fleet of 36 HC-144As.