Napolitano Approves Transfer of C-27J Aircraft to Coast Guard

Mark Begich Press Release:

U.S. Senator Mark Begich was pleased to learn that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) heeded his request to transfer 14 C-271 aircraft from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in order to maintain mission readiness while achieving up to $800 million in savings that could be used to invest in Arctic communications infrastructure, deep water ports, or a new polar ice breaker.

In a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano in May, Sen. Begich noted that if a minimum of 14 aircraft are transferred, the Coast Guard will be able to avoid up to $800 million in total ownership costs for the planned C-144 and C-130J aircraft.  The C-27’s would replace the C-144s and C-130Js in the service’s recapitalization efforts.

“This is another example that if we are willing to do the work, we can find responsible and creative ways to reduce federal spending,” said Sen. Begich.  “The C-27J’s are well suited to Coast Guard missions and will enable us to maintain our current capabilities while saving hundreds of millions in extra training, maintenance and operations.”


The C-27Js are compatible with Coast Guard missions such as search and rescue, logistical support and maintaining maritime domain awareness.  The C-27J’s share the same engines and avionics with the C-130J aircraft and could be easily integrated into the Coast Guard’s existing fleet.   Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was notified of the transfer request approval in June.

“The $800 million in savings the Coast Guard would achieve is significant,” said Sen. Begich.  “The Arctic is emerging as the new frontier for commerce and transportation and the United States needs to be a leader, not an observer.  I recommend that the Department of Homeland Security apply the savings to investment in Arctic infrastructure like deep water ports or safety and navigation vessels like a polar icebreaker.”


One Comment

  1. The US Coast Guard, since its inception, has had to do more with less, and has historically never been fully funded in its efforts to recapitalized its equipment. That continues to this day. They will not get all the vessels they need to manage, protect, and enforce our laws in the fisheries in the 200-mile Economic Zone. The money quoted as being saved is simply taken away. That void was filled with the C-27J SPARTAN that already exist, of which the US Air Force is divesting themselves, after the DoD spent $Billions developing and fielding this aircraft for a specific purpose, which did not go away.

    That mission was Time Sensitive/Mission Critical (TS/MC) Combat Airlift Support. The US Air Force has stated they will fill that mission with C-130s, then they elected to keep 32 Legacy C-130H Hercules aircraft for the Air National Guard, then budgeted NO MONEY for their upgrade, maintenance and operations. Congress had to do that while chastising the Secretary of Defense for this oversight. The US Air Force tried to capture the money in the C-27J SPARTAN program, and congress caught them. That is why the US Air Force is currently trying to find a manufacturer who can complete construction of the C-27J SPARTAN aircraft on contract. That money should be transferred to the US Coast Guard to lighten the blow of having to stand up a whole new program (training, logistics train with repair parts and spares, and infrastructure changes required to support this larger [taller] aircraft.

    So . . . “. . . while saving hundreds of millions in extra training, maintenance and operations.” Is spin not fact, the US Coast Guard will now have to support two types of aircraft performing the same mission, or restructure their mission requirements to incorporate the C-27J SPARTAN with its unique capabilities. The Coast Guard’s new plan will require some thought. The C-27J SPARTAN can transport half the load of a C-130, by taking three 463L pallets from a C-130 load, turn them length wise and tie them down for transport. A C-130 hanger will easily accommodate a C-27J SPARTAN. Force planners may require having one platform on one coast and the other platform on the other coast to simplify and optimize operational cost savings in maintenance and centralize logistics support.

    The unique capabilities of the C-27J SPARTAN make it perfect for an LC-27J SPARTAN variant with skies for Arctic support. Perhaps the C-27J SPARTAN will be West Coast and Alaska based. The current development for HC-144 mission support pallets that strap down in the cargo bay, may require some modifications to the C-27J SPARTAN for electrical power connections. The US Coast Guard should be looking into hanging extra fuel tanks under the wings inboard the engines to increase range and mission endurance.

    Now how about the US Coast Guard money for all those new cutters they need? They are to replace vessels that are mostly 50 years old and older. We must take care of HOME FIRST!