Convair HC-131A “Samaritan”
Beginning in 1976, the Coast Guard acquired twenty C-131A transports from US Air Force stocks as an interim replacement for the HU-16 Albatross until the HU-25 Falcons entered Coast Guard service. The C-131A was a USAF transport version of the Convair 240/340/440 series commercial airliner. They were to be used for search and rescue flights as well as coastal patrols of the new 200-mile exclusive fisheries zone. The Coast Guard planned to acquire one aircraft per month from September 1976 through January 1978. Seventeen aircraft were acquired from the boneyard at Davis-Montham Air Force Base and three others were transferred from Air National Guard stocks. For spare parts, three other C-131A’s were held in reserve at Davis-Montham and another, unmodified, was acquired for use at the training school located at ARSC Elizabeth City.
After the flight trials of the initial acquisition, the Coast Guard planned to modify the aircraft by adding specialized electronics and search and rescue equipment. Each first underwent an overhaul at Hayes International in Dothan, Alabama. They were then flown to ARSC Elizabeth City for Coast Guard-specific modification. The following electronic systems were added or if already installed, upgraded: AN/ARA-25 UHF/VHF (AM-FM) DF; AN/ARC-84 VHF transceiver; AN/ARC-94 HF transceiver; AN/ARC-160 VHF-FM transceiver; AN-ARN-44 LF ADF receiver; AN/APM-171 radio altimeter; AN/APN-195 radar; ADL-81 LORAN C receiver; and the necessary antennae. The following structural modifications were also made: installation of a drop hatch; the addition of a radio.