The HC-144A Ocean Sentry aircraft is a medium range surveillance aircraft. Sine 2003 eighteen HC-144As have joined the Coast Guard’s fleet. The aircraft is a fixed-wing, turbo-prop plane used primarily for maritime patrol, drug and migrant interdiction, disaster response, and search and rescue missions. The aircraft is effective at locating objects in large search areas and able to perform aerial delivery of search and rescue equipment; rafts, pumps, and flares.
The Ocean Sentry has a sophisticated command and control system and can serve for an on-scene commander during homeland security missions. The aircraft also has operational flexibility with a rear ramp that allows for quick reconfiguration for any number of missions it could be deployed to, including command and control, medical evacuation or as passenger transport.
The aircraft is 70 feet, 2 inches long and has a wingspan of 84 feet, 8 inches. The HC-144A weighs 36,380 pounds and has a cruising speed of 215 knots. Standard features of the Ocean Sentry include a Standardized Minotaur mission system, glass cockpit instrument panel, auto pilot, and avionics suite, multimode search radar, electro-optical/infrared sensors, mission data recording, and secure and non-secure voice and data satellite communications.