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The Coast Guard's newest 'interdiction asset' - the MA-10J 'Seabolt' (a.k.a. the JAYHAWG)

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  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
The Coast Guard's newest 'interdiction asset' - the MA-10J 'Seabolt' (a.k.a. the JAYHAWG)
Posted by gregbale on Friday, December 6, 2019 12:05 PM

A little history....

Following the decisive success of the U.S. Coast Guard's once-classified armed interdiction helicopter program, the Guard's Office of Aviation Forces (CG-711) was directed to formulate a proposal to expand that interdiction capability to the possible use of fixed-wing aircraft.

Tasked with an ever-larger share of Homeland Security responsibilities...and facing increasingly-sophisticated threats from narco-traffickers equipped with high-tech gear (including armored fast-boats, high-powered weapons and even submarines)...the Guard's planners studied a wide range of existing fixed-wing platforms as an economical basis to upgrade that airborne capability. The ideal candidate would be a proven and reliable twin-engine aircraft with a large and adaptable payload capacity (sufficient for more 'enhanced' offensive options), excellent low-speed and low-altitude functionality, and acceptable range and loiter-time to undertake both interdiction and the Guard's ever-present search and rescue missions. A more indefinable (but highly desirable) quality would be the ability to get 'down and dirty': to go toe-to-toe with potential and ever-expanding threats, to maintain the enforcement mission with which the Coast Guard has always been proudly tasked.

The new concept -- labeled the 'Augmented Interdiction Asset' (AIA) Program -- was given a fast-track and a tentative priority funding, and high-level discussions were initiated between the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. Options were studied, resource-allocations fiercely debated -- and perhaps a few arms twisted -- and at length a deal was struck...with a truly 'outside the box' solution having been found.

In an all-too-rare example of inter-service procurement, ten of the Air Force's perennially-unloved A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft -- fresh from the fleet-wide Enhanced Wing Assembly upgrade (designed to potentially extend service life to 2040 and beyond) -- were flown directly from Hill AF Base's Ogden Air Logistics Complex, to the sprawling Grumman Aerospace Systems facility at Palmdale, California. There, they would be modified to the Coast Guard's newly-created 'MA-10J' standard.

Structural changes needed for the new mark were purposely kept to a minimum. Because the Guard's aircraft don't typically operate in a 'battlefield' combat-threat environment, the spaces occupied by the Air Force Warthog's many active radar-warning and counter-measure systems could effectively be re-purposed for integrated sensors more suited to the new marine search and interdiction roles. To increase range over water, the A-10's original single 'wet' centerline pylon (designed mainly for ferry flights) was augmented with two fully-plumbed wing pylons, capable of mounting standard external fuel tanks.

A minor computer software upgrade would maximize the already-existing A-10C all-glass cockpit to the new USCG mission profile. The longer 'view' required for those missions would be supplied by what came, during development, to be somewhat whimsically referred to as the 'Three Magic Beans': three self-contained, pod-mounted systems --specially 'hardened' against the challenging marine environment -- chosen to provide long-range search/reconnaissance, targeting, and communications functions.

'Bean 1' would equip the radar-lacking A-10 with the An/ASQ-236 'Dragon's Eye' synthetic aperture radar pod -- already field-tested and optimized for use on the Air Force's fleet of combat-capable 'Hogs.

'Bean 2' would supply enhanced mission-specific search and targeting capabilities through a pod containing the groundbreaking new ViDAR Optical Radar system -- providing up to 80x greater ocean search coverage than existing EO/IR sensor suites, with enhanced small-object-at-sea-surface resolution. [This pod -- only slightly larger than the A-10's original 'Pave Penny' pod -- was adapted to fit on the same pylon as that now-redundant sensor, with only a slight modification needed to the existing mount structure.]

'Bean 3' would house the critical communications link: a purpose-developed full-spectrum 'Communication and Navigation Integrated System' (CaNIS) pod, with datalinks to tie the aircraft's systems to standard marine, civil and military nets, as well as the Coast Guard's own C41SR 'Rescue 21' advanced command, control and communications system.

The offensive 'one-two punch' for the newly-designated MA-10J 'Seabolt' -- known, perhaps inevitably, to her affectionate crews as the JayHawg -- would be provided by ordnance already tried and tested as primary weapons throughout the Air Force Warthog's long and distinguished career. The signature GAU-8 rotary cannon would be retained without modification, for its decisive stopping power against fast-moving narcotics smugglers and potential terrorist threats. Further offensive 'punch' would be supplied by the familiar Maverick optically-guided missile...specifically the AGM-65F, the Navy's version specially-optimized for the anti-shipping role. No need for air-to-air missile armament was anticipated.

To support the Coast Guard's other fundamental role -- their core search-and-rescue mission -- the A-10's generous load-carrying ability and numerous pylons would be utilized for rescue-specific stores: air-droppable life rafts for at-risk mariners, and similar droppable modular CSS (Containerized Survival Store) canisters carrying medical supplies, rations and communications equipment which might be needed in critical rescue and survival situations.

The (10) MA-10J JayHawgs were commissioned into service in June 2018 to great acclaim...and an already-heavy waiting workload. They are organized as the provisional FITRON (Fixed-wing Interdiction Tactical Squadron) 10, with administrative H.Q. -- shared with the armed-helicopter HITRON interdiction squadron -- at Jacksonville, Florida. In practice, small numbers of the aircraft are regularly deployed on a rotating basis as needed, with principle operating sites being the Coast Guard Air Stations at Clearwater Florida, Corpus Christi Texas, and the joint-services Naval Base Ventura County (formerly NAS Point Mugu) in Port Hueneme, California.

Postscript: While the technology mentioned above is (mostly) very real, the rest is...quite obviously...insanely untrue. (But it makes a grand excuse to dress up the old 'Hog in striking Coast Guard colors...and to use up but a few of a large cache of suitable decals in my vast 'spares' collection.) Kit is the solid 1/72 Academy A-10A, built mostly OOB with 'pods' and stores scratched up from spare drop tanks, styrene stock and bits of sprue. Decals from assorted commercial sheets, with nose art homemade. Hope you enjoy the 'What if.'

And on a very personal note: this build is fondly dedicated to the memory of my childhood friend John Chindblom, who went on to serve proudly and with great distinction as a Chief Petty Officer in the United States Coast Guard. John passed away in 2001, at the all-too-tender age of 44, after a valiant battle with cancer.

Johnny...I hope this would bring you a grin.

 

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, December 6, 2019 1:02 PM

Oh good grief! Remember Eddie Miller and his A-10 bashes (Hogzillas).

I just love it!

 

Bill

  • Member since
    May 2016
Posted by learmech on Friday, December 6, 2019 1:14 PM
Love it!!!!
  • Member since
    June 2017
  • From: Winter Park, FL
Posted by fotofrank on Friday, December 6, 2019 2:26 PM

Greg, your MA-10J 'Seabolt' is just too cool. As I read your post I thought this airplane is exactly what the USCG needs. But alas, it's a "what if." The back-story is pretty convincing too. I just cracked the seal on the Italeri A-10C 1/72 scale kit. I'll finish it as a Flying Tiger out of Moody AFB. I was assigned to Moody FIFTY YEARS AGO when it was an ATC pilot training base.

OK. On the bench: Way too much to build in one lifetime, but everything is in the one true scale...

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Friday, December 6, 2019 2:50 PM

Well executed!  You put a lot of thought into this.  Where do I get the kit Stick out tongue

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Friday, December 6, 2019 7:14 PM

Thanks, guys!

Once the idea popped into my head, the real fun was studying currently-available technology to 'outfit' my strange bird for a semi-plausible take on its CG mission.

BTW...the 'Popeye the Coastie' nose art harkens back to a bit of little-remembered cartoon trivia. In the late 1930's the famed spinach-eating character had actually been portrayed as a Coast Guardsman; he 'joined the Navy' when the US entered WW2 in 1941.

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Northern California
Posted by jeaton01 on Friday, December 6, 2019 11:49 PM

Let's fund this program!!

John

To see build logs of my models, go here: http://goldeneramodel.com/mymodels/mymodels.htm

  

fox
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Saturday, December 7, 2019 10:58 AM

Great build! Toast Toast Toast

Jim  Captain

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 70% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    June 2014
Posted by BrandonK on Saturday, December 7, 2019 11:39 AM

The story was as good as the build. Thanks for this one. It was very cool.

BK

On the bench: Alot !

On Deck: Alot more !

 

  • Member since
    December 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Saturday, December 7, 2019 11:59 AM

Wonderfully creative imagination and stellar modeling skills demonstrated here.

Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: Naples, FL
Posted by tempestjohnny on Sunday, December 8, 2019 4:34 AM

BrandonK

The story was as good as the build. Thanks for this one. It was very cool.

BK

 

what he said

 

  • Member since
    February 2013
Posted by tomwatkins45 on Sunday, December 8, 2019 6:54 AM

I love it ! It's a great idea, beautifully executed. The old bird looks good in Coasr Guard colors.

Tom

 

  • Member since
    June 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Sunday, December 8, 2019 8:37 AM

Aha!

    I do love this. Makes me think back to when we at Little Rock Airmotive were told that the Falcon 20 was to be converted for Coast Guard use. I had done probably four resin models of the proposed aircraft by then. This could become true .Who Knows?? Luv the work too! T.B.     P.S. The backstory had me hooked, great writing for a "What If" Idea!

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Sunday, December 8, 2019 8:53 AM

Shoot first,arrest later.Could you imagine ??? 30mm shells the size of milk bottles.

Drug smugglers won't know what hit them.

Remember the Clancy book,Clear and Present Danger.The covert op had them shooting down druggies with F-15's no questions asked.

  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Washington State
Posted by leemitcheltree on Sunday, December 8, 2019 1:52 PM

GMorrison

Oh good grief! Remember Eddie Miller and his A-10 bashes (Hogzillas).

I just love it!

 

Bill

------------

Yeah!! He was a lunatic....had such a GREAT imagination! He created some really amazing OUT THERE stuff! Loved his work! I wonder what ever happened to him. Haven't seen one of his posts in half of forever. I miss his madness.

 

Cheers, LeeTree
Remember, Safety Fast!!!

  • Member since
    March 2009
  • From: Yorkville, IL
Posted by wolfhammer1 on Sunday, December 8, 2019 3:34 PM

I absolutely love it, the back story, explanation and everything.  Very well thought out and thorough.  The A-10 (Jayhawg!!!) would make a credible defensive search and interdiction aircraft.  Nicely done!

John

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Philadelphia Pa
Posted by Nino on Sunday, December 8, 2019 6:22 PM

"...

I'm gonna take two weeks, gonna plead for an A-10
I'm gonna take this program to the United Nations.
Well, I called my congressman and he said "whoa!"
"I'd like to help you son but you're too young to vote"
Sometimes I wonder what I'm a gonna do...
But there ain't no cure for the JayHawg blues."
 
A little paraphrasing of my favorite Eddie Cochran tune.
Thanks for a thought-provoking Model and a dynamite CG Idea!
   Nino
  • Member since
    September 2015
  • From: The Redwood Empire
Posted by Aaronw on Sunday, December 8, 2019 7:33 PM

This is awesome! I like building USCG subjects so have some familiarity with the real aircraft and you made this a very believable what-if.

Will there be a HITRON Cobra or Apache to go along with the Jayhawg?

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