Agusta MH-68 “Stingray” (2001)

Agusta MH68 “Stingray” In March 2001, an agreement with Agusta Aerospace Corporation was made to lease eight A109E Power helicopters. HITRON Jacksonville faced many new challenges as they converted a civilian corporate helicopter into an armed shipboard deployable aircraft. These aircraft were equipped with the latest radar and Forward Looking Infrared sensor system capable of recording activities on tape to facilitate prosecution.  HITRON armed these helicopters with M-16 5.56mm rifles and M240 7.62mm machine guns for warning shots and self-protection, and the RC50 laser-sighted .50 caliber precision rifle to disable the engines of non-compliant suspect vessels.  They were given the military designation of MH-68A. Night shipboard landings, a first for the Coast Guard and now operational procedure Coast Guard wide, were initiated using the ANVIS-9 Night Vision Goggles integrated with the ANVIS-7 heads-up display (HUD) system, and were the first users in the world to operate the latest generation of these night vision devices. For counter drug operations, HITRON aircrews forward deploy [...]