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Thread: US Coast Guard question

  1. #1
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    US Coast Guard question

    I have looked all over for answers but to no avail.

    1) Does the USCG have any armed aircraft or helicopters? I would imagine that M240s and such could be fitted to their choppers in a pinch but are there any that have miniguns and rocket pods like the Blackhawks?

    2) Do the larger USCG cutters have any other weapons systems besides .50s, M240s and the 76mm main gun? I mean like such as missile systems, etc?

    3) Are all USCG members armed while on duty or just while performing combat zone and law enforcement functions? Reason I ask is because I have seen some that were in uniform but were unarmed.

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    Military Professional wabpilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisF202 View Post
    I have looked all over for answers but to no avail.

    1) Does the USCG have any armed aircraft or helicopters? I would imagine that M240s and such could be fitted to their choppers in a pinch but are there any that have miniguns and rocket pods like the Blackhawks?
    Not ordinarily.

    2) Do the larger USCG cutters have any other weapons systems besides .50s, M240s and the 76mm main gun? I mean like such as missile systems, etc?
    During the cold war some of the WHECs had 5/38 mounts, Harpoon and CIWS along with ASW sonar. The flight deck had facilities to support the LAMPS I and a sonobouy receiver. Most of that equipment has been removed in favor of the 76mm OTO/Melara gun. The flight deck can still support the LAMPS, but I doubt the sonobouy reciever is in place.

    3) Are all USCG members armed while on duty or just while performing combat zone and law enforcement functions? Reason I ask is because I have seen some that were in uniform but were unarmed.
    Not usually. The USCG only arms people when side arms are appropriate to the mission, or for ceremonial purposes.
    Last edited by wabpilot; 04 Feb 07, at 04:32.

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    Senior Contributor HKDan's Avatar
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    Armed Coast Guard Helicopters

    NDM Article - Coast Guard Helicopters Gain Firepower


    March 2005

    Coast Guard Helicopters Gain Firepower

    Joe Pappalardo

    Exposing ship crews to armed-helicopter missions has become a priority for the U.S. Coast Guard. As the agency’s missions expand in the nation’s war on terrorism, Coast Guard mainstays, such as the HH-60 Jayhawk and HH-65 Dolphin, are being equipped with sniper rifles and machine guns.

    The armed helicopter for homeland security project received a $17.4 million increase in President George W. Bush’s proposed budget for 2006, up from the $2.5 million allocated for 2005. The fund will be dedicated to establishing five Coast Guard air stations to employ airborne use of force (AUF).

    The Coast Guard’s only law enforcement unit trained and authorized to use AUF is known as the helicopter interdiction tactical squadron, or HITRON. Based in Jacksonville, Fla., the squadron was formed primarily to stop high-speed drug boats by disabling their engines with sniper fire. Operators fly aboard modified MH-68 helicopters.

    But now the Coast Guard plans to modify all of its aircraft for airborne use of force, as well as to train pilots and aircrew for the mission, said William Peterson, chief of the office of aviation forces for the Coast Guard.

    Some of the newly armed Jayhawks already are flying, he noted. “Five HH-60J airframes have been retrofitted with AUF packages. They are now designated MH-60Js,” Peterson said, adding that the M prefix designates an airframe as multi-mission.

    Among the equipment priorities for armed helicopters are sensor upgrades, standardized hardware that is compatible with U.S. military units and other federal agencies, and liquid crystal displays. Exterior lighting changes and armor enhancements are also being added, he said.

    The added firepower is a logical outgrowth in the post-9/11 security environment, said Dan Goure, vice president of the Lexington Institute, a defense-industry think tank based in Arlington, Va.

    Goure said that the plan makes sense, given that the Coast Guard is accustomed to wearing dual hats as law enforcement officers and military personnel.

    Not every station will need an armed helicopter, Goure predicted. The operational details likely will be situation-specific, based on the security demands of ports, ground stations and deployed ships. Operating under two sets of rules of engagement, however, should be familiar to the Coast Guard.

    “Beyond the doctrine there is the culture,” Goure said. “The Coast Guard is used to getting permission before going to ‘weapons hot’ … It is used to operating in an extremely restrictive environment, and that’s not going to change.”

    The additional guns come amid a larger modernization program to keep these aircraft in service until 2020. The entire fleet of 96 HH-65 helicopters are being overhauled with new engines to boost their power, a job which will take until 2007 to finish. Conversion time for each aircraft is estimated at 66 days.

    Only the HH-65C Dolphins with new engines will get the AUF equipment, Peterson added. Those aircraft will be designated an MH-65C.

    The tail rotors and blades will be replaced in the coming years, he noted. “Nothing is wrong with the current tail rotor or tail rotor blades,” Peterson said, but he acknowledged the current tail rotor blades will no longer be manufactured after 2005. “The newly designed tail rotor allows us to take full advantage of the increased power available with the newly re-engined HH-65Cs,” he added.

    The HH-60 Jayhawks currently fly with forward looking infrared, or FLIR, systems cannibalized from the Coast Guard’s retired HH-3F Pelican helicopters. Peterson said these would be replaced with electro-optical/infrared sensor suites, which will be integrated into a new cockpit. The Coast Guard awarded a $15 million contract to Rockwell Collins to equip all 42 aircraft with the Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS). The cockpits are being assembled at the Coast Guard repair and supply center in Elizabeth City, N.C.

    After the CAAS upgrade, they will be designated as an HH-60T, or MH-60T if AUF-equipped, explained Peterson. The cockpits are the same ones used in U.S. special operations and Marine helicopters. First flight of the test aircraft is expected in 2006 and installation of the cockpits is planned for 2007 to 2011.

  4. #4
    Senior Contributor BenRoethig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisF202 View Post
    I have looked all over for answers but to no avail.

    1) Does the USCG have any armed aircraft or helicopters? I would imagine that M240s and such could be fitted to their choppers in a pinch but are there any that have miniguns and rocket pods like the Blackhawks?
    Not normally, but it may be possible to upgrade the HH-60J/T and HC-144A to carry additional weapons should the need ever arise. The Jayhawk is based on the Navy's HH-60H Rescuehawk which can be armed for CSAR missions. The HC-144 is based off the multi-mission CN-235 MPA developed for Indonesia. A palletized mission module and hardpoints for anti-ship missiles and torpedoes have been used by other members of the series.

    2) Do the larger USCG cutters have any other weapons systems besides .50s, M240s and the 76mm main gun? I mean like such as missile systems, etc?
    The Hamiltons fitted for, but not with a heavier weapons fit. Bears were intended for Harpoons but they have a narrow beam and fitting such a launcher would make them pretty unstable. The legend class has the possibility of better weapons through the fore mission module.

    3) Are all USCG members armed while on duty or just while performing combat zone and law enforcement functions? Reason I ask is because I have seen some that were in uniform but were unarmed.
    Most members of the military are unarmed unless in training for a combat zone. The Coasties are no different. Weapons are kept in a locker on board ship or on the base until needed. The only people allowed to carry a weapon 24/7/365 in this country are the police.
    F/A-18E/F Super Hornet: The Honda Accord of fighters.

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    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    I see them drill quite often on the Delaware River. I noticed a tactic last weekend that was really cool. A small patrol boat half zodiac/half hard cabin armed with .50's fore and aft came up the river. Now I saw them (USCG) coming from a good distance off(1/4-1/2 mile). When they reached my location and we were within 20-25 feet from one another. I notice there were not one but two armed Zodiacs. Apparently they share tactics of staying in line both from a heads on and from a profile view at which point they split. Thought I was seeing things for a moment there but they were that close in profile. Cool tactic.

    Summer and Spring they do their Helo/Diver ops right close to us. Good training for both the helo pilot and the divers. They do this all day long.
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

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