Offshore Patrol Fleets Beefed Up
Although the Coast Guard has had to cope with operations-budget stringencies recently, it has beefed up its fleets of ships and aircraft since 1977, when it became responsible for patrolling 2 million square miles of U.S. coastal waters within the 200-mile limit.
It has a hefty force of 16 C-130s for long-range air patrols and 41 Guardian Falcon jets with transcontinental range.
It has added to its fleet of helicopters and its aircraft now number 184, of which 163 are operational at any given time.
It maintains about a dozen 378-foot cutters and about 16 210-footers. It is acquiring 13 medium-endurance, 270-foot cutters that can be provisioned for 14 days at sea.
In addition, it has on order a number of 41-foot patrol boats and 16 110-footers--surface effect vessels that have double hulls for better speed and stability on the high seas.