C-27J programme receives DHS approval to proceed to deploy and support phase

Department of Homeland Security has approved Coast Guard’s Medium Range Surveillance (MRS) Aircraft Programme to advance to the Produce/Deploy and Support phase of the C-27J acquisition and move forward with its mission systems integration.

This approval confirms that the programme has provided the logistical support and operational unit resources that includes staffing, equipment, supplies and funding to the aircraft.

It will also allow the programme to focus on providing full logistics support to field units.

As verified by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, the service will obtain 14 C-27Js from the Air Force.

Accordingly, the MRS programme requires developing new maintenance procedures, training plans and ways to procure spare parts as the aircraft start arriving.

MRS programme is also responsible for the HC-144 Ocean Sentry acquisition. Hence, the planning considered operations for both the aircraft.

MRS programme manager Rick Seitz said: “The C-27J program is not a normal acquisition. In a normal acquisition, a program will have three to five years to complete all the documentation to reach an acquisition decision event (ADE) and will then begin receiving aircraft.

“In this case, the aircraft came first. As a result, the program team had to play catch-up, knocking out all the documentation necessary to reach a successful ADE result in less than a year and a half.

"A large part of the C-27J program’s success is owed to the fantastic support from the HC-27J Asset Project Office (APO), Coast Guard headquarters and DHS staff."

The approval also allows the Coast Guard to advance with mission systems integration. It can also work with the Naval Air Systems Command to upgrade and enhance aircraft capabilities for specific mission requirement.

Nine C-27Js were revamped, four of which are operating on Air Station Sacramento, California. The remaining five aircrafts are stationed at the HC-27J APO in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The Coast Guard is also planning to obtain two more aircrafts by the end of this year.

Image: A C-27J Spartan takes off from the HC-27J Asset Project Office in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Photo: Courtesy of United States Coast Guard