Coast Guard Contracts To Buy 32 Search-And-Rescue Helicopters For Maritime Defense Zone

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Coast Guard aviation recently entered a new era on the West Coast with the acceptance in San Francisco of the Sikorsky HH-60J Jayhawk search-and-rescue (SAR) helicopter.

From their base, the aircraft will be able to perform missions several hundred miles off the Pacific Coast between Point Arena and Point Conception, Calif. The Jayhawk helicopters will begin operational missions in January after pilots, aircrew members and support personnel complete transition training. Among the dignitaries present at an acceptance ceremony that also marked the air station's 50th anniversary was Rear Adm. Marshall E. Gilbert, commander, Eleventh Coast Guard District. James H. Thach, Sikorsky Jayhawk program manager, presented aircraft keys and log books to Comdr. Robert Foley, commanding officer of the air station.

The Coast Guard has contracted to buy 32 of the helicopters. Requirements call for the aircraft to perform in violent storm-force winds (Beaufort Scale 11) and over exceptionally heavy sea states. Other missions include drug interdiction, environmental protection, offshore enforcement of laws and treaties, aids to navigation and logistics support and other missions t h a t may be required by Coast Guard-Navy maintenance of the Maritime Defense Zone.

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