HITRON Helicopters Returned to Lockheed Martin

Rosslyn, VA – Lockheed Martin and the Coast Guard recently completed a successful five-year aircraft maintenance lease agreement which provided eight MH-68A helicopters to the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) in Jacksonville, Fla. The last of the leased aircraft was safely returned to Agusta Aerospace Corporation in Wilmington, Del., in January.

“The HITRON program has been the pointy end of the aviation program’s spear for years now and has undoubtedly earned its place in Coast Guard aviation’s long and distinguished history books,” said LCDR Mike Campbell, HH-65/MCH deputy program manager. “The continuous and enormous impact of their success was due to the outstanding work of the entire team.”

HITRON is the nation’s first and only airborne law enforcement unit trained and authorized to employ airborne use of force (AUF) to interdict suspected drug-laden, high-speed vessels known as ‘go-fasts.’ During the five-year program, the Coast Guard stopped over 100 ‘go-fasts’ from the air and seized more than seven tons of marijuana and nearly 160 tons of cocaine valued at $8.64 billion.

The Deepwater team consistently exceeded aircraft performance metrics and enjoyed 99 percent aircraft availability over the five-year program. This high level of aircraft readiness and performance directly contributed to the Coast Guard’s outstanding drug interdiction record.

“Everyone associated with this very successful aircraft maintenance lease program has done an outstanding job,” said Ken Majchrzak, Lockheed Martin HITRON program manager. “The HITRON mission successes achieved over the last five years along with consistently exceeding aircraft performance metrics, the safe return of all eight MH-68A aircraft back to Agusta and smooth exit plan execution are the direct result of great teamwork.”

The Coast Guard is currently upgrading several newly re-engined HH-65C helicopters with the AUF packages to replace the MH-68A aircraft and continue the HITRON mission.

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