A Project of the Coast Guard Aviation Association

2005 – Coast Guard Acquires the C-143A Medium Range Command and Control Aircraft


The C-143A is a Challenger CL-604 aircraft, which was acquired by the Coast Guard in December 2005 as its new Medium Range Command and Control Aircraft (MRC2A). It provides support exclusively for the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and the Commandant, US Coast Guard. With a marked increase of missions and responsibilities under the Department of Homeland Security the Coast Guard decided to supplement the C-37A Command and Control aircraft. Procurement funds were not available and a request for proposal for a lease, to include an option to purchase, of a Medium Range Command and Control Aircraft was solicited and evaluated. The Full and Open competition was won by TKC Aerospace

The CL-604 is a major upgrade of the proven CL-601 design, incorporating more powerful engines, larger fuel supply, completely new undercarriage, structural improvements to wings and tail, and a new electronic flight instrumentation system.

The CL 604 is spacious with low cabin noise levels and was arguably the best-selling large corporate jet due to its mission versatility, supreme comfort, and cost efficiency. Amenities include a full service galley, large comfortable leather seating, in-flight accessible baggage and a spacious private lavatory.

The number 143 was selected on 15 December 2005, reviving the pre-1962 USAF C-series, where the last actually allocated number was 142. Unofficial information indicates that there was some internal DOD confusion as to whether C-42, the nominal next number in the post-1962 C-series, was available for allocation. To avoid possible confusion the continuation of the older C-series was used because the C-143 slot was definitely available.

General Characteristics
Wingspan 64′ 4″ Empty Weight 20,485 lbs
Length 68′ 5″ Max T.O. Weight 48,200 lbs
Height 20′ 8″ Max Speed Mach .83
Crew 4 Rate of Climb 4,450 ft/min
Capacity 10 Service Ceiling 41,000 ft
Range 3,366 nm Power Plant (2) GE CF34-3B Turbofans

The Early Years

The Growth Years

Coming Of Age

The Modern Era

The Present Era

Oral History