The United States Coast Guard uses cutters and small boats on the water, and fixed- and rotary wing (helicopters) aircraft in the air. The Coast Guard employs various small arms including handguns, shotguns, rifles, and machine guns.
Originally, the Coast Guard used the term cutter in its traditional sense, as a type of small sailing ship. Today it officially uses the term for any vessel which has a permanently assigned crew and accommodations for the extended support of that crew, and includes any and all vessels of 65-foot (20 m) or more in length.
Larger cutters (over 181 feet (55 m) in length) are controlled by Area Commands (Atlantic Area or Pacific Area). Smaller cutters come under control of district commands. Cutters usually carry a motor surf boat and/or a rigid-hulled inflatable boat. Polar-class icebreakers (WAGB) carry an Arctic survey boat (ASB) and landing craft.
Any Coast Guard crew with officers or petty officers assigned has law-enforcement authority (14 USC Sec. 89) and can conduct armed boardings.
The Coast Guard operates about 1,402 boats, defined as any vessel less than 65 feet (20 meters) in length, which generally operate near shore and on inland waterways. The most common is 25 feet (7.62 m) long, of which the Guard has more than 350; the shortest is 12 feet (4 m).
The Coast Guard planned to reduce the inventory of Boston Whalers because of the lack of interoperable spare parts. On Friday, July 13th, the General Services Administration approved the transfer of 10 Coast Guard boats to the Army in Iraq. The boats, 24-foot and 27-foot Boston Whalers with trailers, had an original acquisition cost of more than $800,000. The Army is looking for approximately 55 Riverine or Patrol style boats to conduct water interdiction, river denial and island clearance missions, troop transport and insertion on a regular basis; the Coast Guard is providing the Army with the Boston Whalers and one Ambar boat, a patrol type vessel.
The Coast Guard operates about 210 aircraft. Fixed-wing aircraft (such as Lockheed HC-130 Hercules turboprops) operate from Air Stations on long-duration missions. Helicopters (Aérospatiale HH-65 Dolphin, Sikorsky HH-60J Jayhawk, and Agusta MH-68 Stingray) operate from Air Stations, Air Facilities, and flight-deck equipped cutters, and can rescue people or intercept smuggling vessels. Some special MH- designated helicopters are armed with guns and some are equipped with armor to protect against small arms fire.
The Coast Guard flies several aircraft types:
The Coast Guard was to purchase the Bell Eagle Eye UAV as part of the Deepwater program, but this has been cancelled. The Coast Guard is currently preparing to launch a small UAS competition for the Legend-class NSC and future Heritage-class cutter.
|HMMWV||United States||limited unspecified number|||
|LSSV||United States||unspecified number|||
|P229R-DAK||.40 S&W||Pistol||Germany||Standard service pistol|
|M16A2||5.56×45mm NATO||Assault rifle||United States||Limited service|
|M4||5.56×45mm NATO||Carbine||United States||Standard issue service rifle. The Deployable Operations Group also employs the Mk 18 upper receiver|
|Mk 18 carbine||5.56×45mm NATO||Carbine||United States||Standard issue service carbine. The Maritime Security Response Team also employs them|
|Saiga-12||12-gauge||Shotgun||Russia||The Deployable Operations Group employs them|
|M240||7.62×51mm NATO||General purpose machine gun||United States||M240B variant is employed aboard surface vessels while the M240H is used aboard the MH-60 Jayhawk and MH-65 Dolphin helicopters. The M240 is also used on land by Port Security units|
|M60||7.62×51mm NATO||General purpose machine gun||United States||Used on various boats such as the Defender-class boat|
|Browning M2HB||.50 BMG||Heavy machine gun||United States||Primarily mounted on seagoing vessels. Some machine guns are used on land by Port Security Units|
|M14||7.62×51mm NATO||Designated marksman rifle||United States||Variant known as the M14 Tactical fitted with the Mk 14 Enhanced Battle Rifle stock, with a 22-inch barrel and a Smith Enterprise muzzle brake.|
|Mk 11||7.62×51mm NATO||Sniper rifle||United States||Used by the Deployable Operations Group|
|M107||.50 BMG||Anti-materiel rifle, sniper rifle||United States||Used for Airborne Use of Force (AUF) missions|
|Robar RC-50||.50 BMG||Anti-materiel rifle, sniper rifle||United States|
|M203||40mm||Grenade launcher||United States||Single-shot underbarrel grenade launcher|
|Mk 19||40mm||Automatic grenade launcher||United States||Belt-fed|
|MK3 grenade||Concussion Grenade||United States||Used as an anti-swimmer grenade. Being phased out and being replaced by a newer Anti-Swimmer Grenade.|
Coast Guard radio stations cover a wide geographical area using very high frequency and high frequency radios. There are eight major radio stations covering long-range transmissions and an extensive network of VHF radio stations along the nation's coastline and inland rivers.
The OMEGA navigation system and the LORAN-C transmitters outside the USA were run until 1994 also by the United States Coast Guard, and LORAN-C transmitters within the US were decommissioned on June 1, 2010, with the exception of 5 CONUS LORAN-C stations that continue to be manned due to international agreements.
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