Mc Donald Douglas MD-90 “Enforcer” As part of FRONTIER LANCE, a mostly secret operation within an operation, named Operation NEW FRONTIER was conducted. Despite intelligence cueing, surface assets could not match the speed of the “go-fasts.” Helicopters on board the larger cutters could keep up with the “go-fasts” and keep them under surveillance until they required refueling but they had no means of forcing them to stop. Any serious attempt to stop the “go-fasts” would require a drastic change in capabilities. The Commandant directed that a proof of concept operation using armed Coast Guard helicopters to interdict and apprehend “go-fasts” be conducted. A group, named HITRON-10, pioneered novel and effective operating tactics and procedures. HITRON was the acronym for Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron and 10 represented the number of crewmembers assigned. The team flew leased MH-90 enforcer helicopters The MH-90, a militarized version of the MD 900 helicopters built by MD Helicopters Incorporated, was an all weather, short range, single rotor, shipboard helicopter. It was powered by a two [...]
Schweizer RU-38 “Twin- Condor” In 1998 Congress set aside $450,000 to begin the plan being to rebuild the Coast Guard’s two RG-8s into the new twin-engine version one at a time with the remaining aircraft staying in service while the conversion on the first was carried out. The plan included building a third RU-38 from available spare parts. Concerns about the lack of anti-icing capability and weather radar, the aircraft’s limited ditching characteristics in the event of an emergency, inability to launch in high winds, lack of engine-out capability, small cockpit, and pilot fatigue, led the service to explore a modification of the RG-8 to a twin-engine design The withdrawal of Air Force support for the program though caused the Coast Guard to limit the plan to converting its two RG-8s. On 24 January 1994 the Coast Guard sent CG-8101 to Schweizer in Elmira, New York, for conversion while the remaining aircraft continued operating out of Air Station Miami. A RG-8 crashed. Schweizer continued the conversion of CG-8101 and [...]
CASA 212-300 Light Transport The Coast Guard leased a CASA 212-300 as a utility aircraft to provide lower cost logistic support for the drug and alien interdiction programs that were conducted in the Caribbean area. The primary mission of the 212 was to transport personnel and equipment to remote locations without readily available commercial transportation. The aircraft had a high volume cabin with a rear loading ramp. Additionally the aircraft was used to transport Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) personnel and was used in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Cocaine and marijuana from seizures as well as prisoners for Customs and the DEA were regularly transported. Even though the aircraft was instrumental in greatly improving the logistics operations the lease was terminated because of budget shortfalls.
Sikorsky HH-60J “Jayhawk” The HH-60J Jayhawk is a medium-range recovery helicopter built by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. It is a multi-mission aircraft used to perform search and rescue, law enforcement, military readiness, and marine environmental protection missions. The United States Coast Guard purchased 42 HH-60Js. They replaced the Sikorsky HH-3F Pelican helicopters that the Coast Guard had used for over 20 years. The HH-60J is similar to the HH-3F in many ways, and the assigned missions are the same. However, the HH-60J has numerous upgrades including a state of the art electronics package. The HH-60J is lighter, faster and the engines have more power. It does not, however, have the water landing capability that the HH-3F had. The Jayhawk can fly 300 miles offshore, remain on scene 45 minutes, hoist six people on board, and return to its point of origin with a safe fuel reserve. Normal cruising speeds of 135-140 knots can be increased to a "dash" speed of 180 knots when necessary. It will fly comfortably at [...]