The multirole Dassault HU-25 Guardian of the United States Coast Guard service had roots in the French Falcon 20 series business jet.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Image courtesy of the United States Department of Defense imagery database.
The Falcon 20 was a Cold War-era twin-engine business jet (bizjet) first-flying in 1963 and introduced for service in June of 1965. Production spanned from 1965 until 1991 to which some 512 total aircraft were realized. The series went on to find many global operators for its time including powerhouse Federal Express, governmental agencies, and small, private air carriers. The Falcon 20, with all its inherent strengths, also managed to interest many military powers of the world with the United States finding the type to be particularly useful in certain special-mission roles.
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) service took on the French-originated Dassault Aviation "Falcon 20" business jet under the HU-25 "Guardian" designation. The aircraft were specifically Falcon 20G production models and a complete batch of forty-one airframes under the "HU-25A" designation were secured, these powered by twin Garrett AIResearch ATF3-6-2C turbofan engines. Then followed the "HU-25B" which were seven examples converted from HU-25A airframes and equipped with Side-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR) to be used in the Pollution Control data-collecting role. A further nine Hu-25A airframes were then converted for use in the drug interdiction role as "Hu-25C" as these arrived equipped with the APG-66 series search radar as well as WF-360 Forward-Looking InfraRed (FLIR) in a fuselage blister. Upgraded Hu-25C models then evolved to become the "Hu-25C+" and these same nine airframes were given more powerful AN/APG-66(V)2 series radar fits (the same as featured in the F-16 "Fighting Falcon" lightweight multirole fighter) as well as a more modern FLIR arrangement. The final, definitive Guardian entry became the Hu-25D, these aircraft, again, based in the A-model line but carrying the AN/APS-143B(V)3 series 360-degree scanning Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) while retaining the FLIR equipment of the proven C-models. Fifteen D-models were procured.
The Guardian managed a service life of some thirty-two years with the USCG, the aircraft recognized for its versatility, reliability, and speed to help offset its procurement and operating costs (and cramped operating conditions). The final flight of an Hu-25 series aircraft was had on September 23rd, 2014 as the line went on to see retirement. Its roles have since been taken over by the HC-144 "Ocean Sentry" (EADS/CASA C-235) and the Alenia HC-27J "Spartan" (both are detailed elsewhere on this site). One Hu-25 example was taken on by NASA for testing purposes.
Status Retired, Out-of-Service
[ 41 Units ] : Dassault Aviation - France
United States (retired)
- Search and Rescue (SAR)
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
56.27 ft (17.15 m)
53.48 ft (16.3 m)
17.45 ft (5.32 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Dassault HU-25 Guardian production model)
16,601 lb (7,530 kg)
28,660 lb (13,000 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Dassault HU-25 Guardian production model)
2 x Garrett AiResearch ATF3-6-2C turbofan engines developing 4,500lb of thrust each.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Dassault HU-25 Guardian production model)
534 mph (860 kph; 464 kts)
41,995 feet (12,800 m; 7.95 miles)
2,082 miles (3,350 km; 1,809 nm)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Dassault HU-25 Guardian production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
None. Mission specific equipment such as radar, sensors, and FLIR fitted.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Dassault HU-25 Guardian production model)
HU-25 "Guardian" - Base Series Designation; 41 examples acquired by the USCG.
Hu-25A - Initial in-service models based in the Falcon 20G.
Hu-25B - SLAR-equipped model for pollution control sorties; seven modified from A-model stock.
Hu-25C - Maritime drug interception role; fitted with Westinghouse APG-66 radar and WF-360 FLIR; nine examples modified from A-model stock.
Hu-25C+- Improved C-model aircraft; Fitted with AN/APG-66(V)2 radar and upgraded FLIR equipment; nine examples upgraded from existing C-model stock.
Hu-25D - Definitive service form; fitted with AN/APS-143B(V)3 ISAR radar with C-model FLIR equipment; fifteen examples modified from A-model stock.
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