A Project of the Coast Guard Aviation Association

1957: Aircraft Requirements Submitted to Congress

At the request of Congress the Joint Report on the Requirements of the Coast Guard was submitted to congress and implemented a year later. This document defined Coast Guard aviation’s primary role as search and rescue; specified the types of aircraft needed for that purpose; and indicated the number of each type that should be acquired during each of the next six years.

Report number 1743, which accompanied H.R. 9064 stated in part:

“The House Appropriations Committee is gravely concerned with the situation respecting replacement of Coast Guard aircraft. At the insistence of this committee, a program for regular annual replacements was instituted several years ago. This would have enabled the Coast Guard to obtain replacement aircraft on a regularly scheduled basis, avoiding the necessity for recurring peaks in appropriations requests, and more importantly, keeping the air arm of the Coast Guard equipped with current model, safer and more economical craft.  In the revised budget for fiscal year 1954, this program was abandoned by the executive branch on the grounds it was being restudied. To date, no alternative has been proposed.

The committee directs the Secretary and Commandant to cause a complete re-evaluation of all Coast Guard activities, the conduct of which requires the use of aircraft, and present at least preliminary conclusions by December 31, 1956, including recommendations as to kinds of activities requiring aircraft, types of aircraft required, numbers of aircraft required and a program for financing the procurement and eventual replacement of such aircraft as may prove desirable.”

A Special study Group established on 18 April made a comprehensive evaluation of Coast Guard Aviation. On 26 February 1957, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Commandant of the Coast Guard submitted the Joint Report requested by congress.  This Joint Report was a “Six Year Plan” for Coast Guard Aviation.

When the Joint Report Requirement board was convened the Coast Guard inventory was 127 aircraft and consisted of 14 models. The general classification of these aircraft consisted of 17 long range landplanes, 17 long range seaplanes, 47 medium range amphibians, 20 medium helicopters, 8 light helicopters, 18 special service aircraft.

PBIG 7 HO4S 20
P4Y 5 HO3S 5
R5D 5 HTL 3
PBM 9 RM 2
P5M 8 R4D 3
UF 47 JRB 5
JRF 6 OY 2

The Joint report of 1957 recommended a fleet of 195 aircraft be attained by the end of FY 1963 to be composed of 6 models to fulfill duty requirements.  The 195 aircraft were to consist of 14 SC-130B long range landplanes, 11 P5M long range seaplanes, 69 UF medium range amphibians, 79 HUS medium range helicopters, 20 HUL light helicopters, and 2 RM special service aircraft.

In the period 1957 through 1960 the following aircraft were obtained:

9 R5Ds to replace overage P4Ys and PB1Gs pending replacement by C-130 aircraft;

14 UF-1G Grumman amphibians;

3 P5M Seaplanes;

9 C123B aircraft for logistical support for the augmented LORAN construction program; These aircraft were not part of the original requirements as the augmentation had not been directed by DOD at that time.

6 SC-130Bs;

6 HUS helicopters;

9 additional HO4S helicopters;

2 HUL helicopters.

Due to budgetary limitations procurement had fallen considerably behind planned acquisition and in 1960 a re-evaluation was directed.

The re-evaluation board was to re-evaluate the concepts and basic findings of the original 1957 requirement report to:

  1. Determine the Coast Guard duties or activities in which the use of aircraft was required.
  2. Determine the types and numbers of aircraft required to carry out the role of Coast Guard Aviation in those duties.
  3. Determine the distribution and deployment of such aircraft.
  4. Develop a comprehensive and realistic financial plan, covering the procurement and orderly replacement of Coast Guard aircraft.

Number 2 and 3 coupled with the 1960 Roles and Mission study led to the implementation of the Aviation Master plan. Number 4, to a large degree, insured funds for procurement. There were some in the Coast Guard that felt that budgeting a fixed sum for aircraft procurement deprived the service’s ships and shore installations of funds needed for upgrade and replacement. This would prove to not be the case.

There was a reduction in the number of recommended fixed wing aircraft and a sizeable increase in the number of helicopters. Over half of the operational aircraft required were helicopters. The thinking in Coast Guard aviation had changed.  Numerous additional helicopter Air Detachments were proposed. They were:

Rockland, Me.                                  Galveston, TX

Groton, Conn.                                   Detroit, MI

Naples, Italy                                      Buffalo, NY

Cape May, NJ                                   Chicago, Ill

Beaufort, SC                                      Los Angeles, CA

Cape Canaveral, Fl                           Humboldt Bay, CA

Ft. Myers, Fl.                                     Coos Bay, OR

Valparaiso, Fl                                    Astoria, OR

It was not until 1963 that final selections were proposed. The movement of some of the major air stations and changes in operational requirements modified the Air Detachment requirements but the basic premise remained intact.

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