Tuesday, November 15, 2016

C-27J Program Reaches Production, Missionization Milestones

C-27J Spartan
A C-27J Spartan takes off from the HC-27J Asset Project Office in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Oct. 6, 2016, to provide support during Hurricane Matthew. The aircraft transported an Atlantic Area advance team from Norfolk, Virginia, to St. Louis and later provided radio coverage for rescue operations in South Carolina and Georgia. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chris Slater.
November 14, 2016 - The Coast Guard’s Medium Range Surveillance (MRS) Aircraft Program received approval from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Oct. 20 to move to the Produce/Deploy and Support phase of the C-27J acquisition and to proceed with C-27J mission systems integration.   

The approval to advance to the Produce/Deploy and Support phase verifies that the program has provided the logistics support and operational unit resources, such as staffing, equipment, supplies and funding, to support the aircraft. The decision allows the program to focus on providing full logistics support to field units.

The service is receiving 14 C-27Js from the Air Force, as directed by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. This meant the MRS program had to develop new maintenance procedures, training plans and means for obtaining spare parts as the aircraft began arriving. The MRS program also manages the HC-144 Ocean Sentry acquisition, so planning took into account operations for both aircraft.

“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,” said Rick Seitz, MRS program manager. “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 to move forward with mission systems integration allows the Coast Guard to continue its work with the Naval Air Systems Command to develop systems that will enhance and expand the aircraft’s capabilities for its specific mission needs. The C-27J missionization package is based on the Navy’s Minotaur mission system suite that the Coast Guard is implementing across the rest of its fixed-wing fleet.

The MRS program and the HC-27J APO have responded well to the acquisition’s unique timeline and requirements, said Lt. Cmdr. Bart Philpott, deputy C-27J program manager. “We’ve got a good strategy, good leadership and a good team, and we’re confident we’re going to continue to meet all ADE events within cost, schedule and performance.”

Nine C-27Js have completed the regeneration process to bring them out of long-term storage. Four of these are operating out of Air Station Sacramento, California, which reached initial operational capability in July. The other five are stationed at the HC-27J APO in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The Coast Guard plans to accept two more aircraft later this year.

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