The U.S. Coast Guard awarded prime contractor EADS North America a $117 million contract for three HC-144A Ocean Sentry Maritime Patrol Aircraft, with options for up to six more aircraft over the next four years. The HC-144A is based on the Airbus Military CN235 tactical airlifter, more than 250 of which are in operation by 26 countries. The Coast Guard currently operates 10 Ocean Sentries and will receive another later this year. EADS NA will begin deliveries of the aircraft covered by this latest contract award in 2011. Plans call for the Coast Guard to acquire a total fleet of 36 Ocean Sentries. The HC-144A is replacing the Coast Guard’s aging fleet of HU-25 Guardian Falcon jets. EADS NA will deliver the HC-144A with a search radar, electro-optical and IR cameras, an Automatic Identification System for data collection from vessels at sea, and a communications suite.