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US Coast Guard Lacks Funds to Buy Needed Ships, Planes

Sputnik News

04:16 15.05.2015

The US Coast Guard's plans to buy more ships and aircraft outstrip the available funds that are needed to purchase them, according to new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The Coast Guard has started an ambitious program to expand its aircraft and surface maritime forces to combat crime and security threats off US coasts.

"GAO has consistently found that DHS and the Coast Guard recognize, but have yet to address, the fact that the Coast Guard's acquisition needs are not affordable,' the report said on Thursday.

However, the Coast Guard's air fleet will not be fully modernized until 2020 and new Offshore Patrol Cutters will not begin to replace the current aging fleet until 2022, the report said.

It will take seven years and about $600 million to fully transfer and modify 14 C-27J fixed-wing aircraft transferred from the US Air Force to the Coast Guard, because the aircraft need new information technology and surveillance systems, according to the GAO.

The Coast Guard is also working with three potential shipbuilders to design a new standard Offshore Patrol Cutter 'needed to recapitalize the majority of the major cutter fleet,' the report said.

However, the report warned that the first of the new ships will not be ready until 2022.

'For the past five years, GAO has found that the Coast Guard's acquisition funding has fallen short of what it estimates it needs to fully recapitalize its assets,' the report stated.

The Coast Guard is a branch of the US military operating within the Department of Homeland Security. It has 42,000 personnel and its missions include drug interdiction, maritime security, defense readiness, port and waterway safety and search and rescue.


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