US Coast Guard flies first missionized HC-27J Spartan

The US Coast Guard (USCG) conducted the initial flight of its first missionized HC-27J Spartan at NAS Patuxent River in Maryland on September 6.

The HC-27J (2712) is the first of 14 aircraft to undergo the Minotaur missionisation process. Work to equip the Spartan with Minotaur mission systems provided the type with improved capabilities to gather, process and transmit information during maritime patrol aircraft joint operations. This initial flight was a culmination of efforts by the USCG’s Aviation Projects Acquisition Center and Medium Range Surveillance Aircraft Program Office; US Naval Air Systems Command’s (NAVAIR’s) Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) AIRWorks Team and Leonardo US Aircraft (the type’s original equipment manufacturer).

Leonardo HC-27J Spartan (2712) is seen near NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, during its first flight since undergoing the Minotaur system missionization process – which was carried out by NAWCAD’s AIRWorks Team – on September 6.
Leonardo HC-27J Spartan (2712) is seen near NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, during its first flight since undergoing the Minotaur system missionization process – which was carried out by NAWCAD’s AIRWorks Team – on September 6. US Navy

The aircraft completed a modified functional check flight, tailored to exercise the programme’s Safety of Flight and Safety of Test systems prior to moving into a full flight test programme. The HC-27J’s initial flight tests will be carried out at NAS Patuxent River by the NAWCAD’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20 (VX-20) HC-27J test team, with support from the USCG and Leonardo.

The USCG is currently operating HC-27Js from Coast Guard Air Station (CGAS) Sacramento, California, while CGAS Clearwater in Florida recently began its conversion to the type. At present, the Spartans are equipped with the aircraft’s original weather radar, communications equipment and several smaller upgrades. The missionisation programme will integrate specialised equipment, including surface search radar, electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors and processors that interface with the Minotaur mission system architecture.