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Special Feature: USCG Retires HU-25 Falcon Jet - The Guardian

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  1. USCG Retires Fleet of Falcons
    The Guardian Stands Down

    The US Coast Guard recently announced the retirement of their fleet of Dassault Falcon 20's; the "HU-25 Guardians". For over 30 years, Falcons have soared the shores as a first line of defense.

    The Guardian's were based on the French built Dassault Falcon 20, which evolved throughout its 30 plus years of service. Over time, other aircraft were brought online to supplement the Falcons, such as the turboprop HC-144 Ocean Sentry and the HC-27J Spartan, neither of which could match the speed of the Falcon, which is nearly twice as fast as its propeller-driven counterparts. Speed is an essential ingredient in the search and rescue role, as well as keeping pace with high speed aircraft in drug interdiction.
  2. The USCG maintained 41 Guardians, which were upgraded over years and became more sensor-based, making the Falcon's more capable as technology progressed. Ultimately, they were surveillance platforms and evolviong sensor technolofy wase adapted for different roles; including side-looking radar, pulse-doppler radar, FLIR units and 360' scanning ISAR in the aircraft's latest iterations.
  3. The Guardians proved to be capable platforms with an outstanding service record, but they were more expensive to operate then their turboprop successors and were unable to loiter on location for long periods of time. As technology and sensors evolved in ground, air and space monitoring, sheer speed wasn't as important as the flexibility of an information-based, surveillance and reconnaissance platform.
  4. If the Guardian had one Achilles heel, it lacked cargo space. The Spartan and Sentry have greater interior volume capable of carrying everything from cargo to extra personnel. They also feature ramps in the rear of the fuselage to facilitate the same. This allows various sensor system consoles to be rolled on the planes for different missions.
  5. The last HU-25 Guardian was retired at the USCG's Corpus Christi base on September 23rd, 2014, but at least one of the Guardians will still stand watch for Nasa as a surveillance platform for global warming. The Dassault Falcon 20 served the USCG for over 30 years, working primarily in salt-air environment and flying in the most extreme weather conditions; a testament to the airframe and its components.
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