The U.S. Coast Guard currently operates 13 HC-144A maritime patrol aircraft, each powered by two CT7-9C3 turboprop engine power units. The aircraft is manufactured by Airbus Military in Spain, and the CT7-9C3 turboprop engine power units are provided by General Electric Corp. (GE) in Lynn, Mass.
These aircraft are procured under the authority of the Coast Guard Aviation Program Management Office. While the base CASA CN-235-300M aircraft provides the foundation for the Coast Guard HC-144A, changes to base aircraft configuration and the addition of supplementary systems have been combined resulting in a CG01 version of the CN-235-300M.
“The end state for the fleet size is still under review but could include as many as 36 assets,” the Coast Guard said in contract documents released through the Federal Business Opportunities website on Thursday. “The projected number of Coast Guard assets over the next five years includes up to 20 operational HC-144A aircraft, with each averaging 1,200-flight hours annually.”
The HC-144A aircraft supports Coast Guard search and rescue missions, as well as surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
On April 14, 2012, during a night flight, the Coast Guard crew of aircraft 2310 reported their #1 engine chip light illuminated 5.3 hours into flight. The aircraft returned to its home station and the engines were secured.
The CT7-9C3 engine power units were inspected by Coast Guard personnel in accordance with the original equipment manufacturer periodic requirements and in conjunction with the Coast Guard specialized Asset Computerized Maintenance System. The #1 CT7-9C3 turboprop engine power unit chip detector had a small amount of carbon and one relatively large silver ferrous metal chip, approximately 5/32” in length by 1/16" in width. It was concluded that the #1 CT7-9C3 turboprop engine power unit has out of limits chip.
The Coast Guard intends to negotiate and award a contract to GE for the engine repairs. The anticipated award date is May 19, “however this is an estimate and not an exact date,” the Coast Guard said.