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Homeland Security

Armed Helicopter for Homeland Security Project

President Bush alloted the The Armed Helicopter for Homeland Security Project an increase of $17.4 million in the budget for FY2006. These funds would provide equipment and aircraft modifications to establish armed helicopter capability at five U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Air Stations. This will provide the USCG and DHS with the tools needed to respond quickly and forcefully to emergency maritime threats. A total of $19.9 million is included in the budget for this project.

At the time that the Armed Helicopter for Homeland Security Project was established, the Coast Guard's Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) in Jacksonville, Florida was the only unit trained and authorized for airborne use of force (AUF). With the establishment of five new Coast Guard stations capable of AUF, there were plans to modify Coast Guard aircraft and train pilots for AUF. There were plans established In 2005 for the Coast Guard to invest in increased aviation capability by prototyping armed HH60J helicopters.

Coast Guard Air Station (CGAS) Cape Cod, Mass., conducted AUF proof of concept exercises with four HH-60J Jayhawk helicopters modified with an airframe-mounted area-fire weapon, shoulder-mounted weapon, upgraded radios, upgraded FLIR, head-up display, cabin floor armor, and pilot and copilot seat armor. A core group of pilots and flight mechanics were trained in day and night tactics and aerial gunnery. Lessons learned from this initiative may serve as a blueprint for arming other HH-60J and HH-65 units. Coast Guard Headquarters' Office of Aviation Forces is seeking funding to eventually employ AUF operationally at CGAS Cape Cod, and build the capability at other air stations across the nation.

For FY2008, DHS requested $24.6 million for the Armed Helicopter for Homeland Security Project. This request completed the Coast Guard's Airborne Use of Force (AUF) initiative and will provide regional Coast Guard AUF capability and surge capacity throughout the United States. Specifically, this request will outfit 42 MH-65C helicopters at 10 air stations and seven MH-60J support helicopters at Coast Guard's Aviation Repair and Support Center (ARSC) with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), weapons, mounts and armory support

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Page last modified: 13-07-2011 12:50:41 ZULU