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Air Force to transfer aircraft to Coast Guard

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U.S. policymakers have agreed to transfer 14 new C-27J transport aircraft from the Air Force to the Coast Guard, a key lawmaker announced Dec. 11.

The Air Force has determined it no longer needs the planes, and the Coast Guard would like to use them as medium-range surveillance aircraft. The transfer is expected to save the budget-constrained Coast Guard about $600 million by allowing it to stop buying more HC-144A maritime patrol aircraft, said Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Coast Guard panel.

The Coast Guard had planned to buy 36 HC-144As but will now stop at the 18 that are already under contract, said Vice Adm. John Currier, the Coast Guard’s vice commandant, who testified before Hunter’s panel.

The Coast Guard, part of the Department of Homeland Security, is in the midst of a broad effort to replace aging aircraft, ships and other equipment. But members of Congress have cautioned that the service does not have enough money to buy everything it would like to have.

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