The Air Force ordered the twin-engined C-27J aircraft a decade ago to fill what was seen as a need for a transport plane smaller than the C-130 Hercules. But the Air Force soured on its purchase as combat in Iraq and Afghanistan wound down, reducing the need for small transports to ferry passengers and supplies in the war zone.
The planes were mothballed as soon as the came off the assembly line.
But the Coast Guard has claimed 14 of the 21 planes for patrol and transport work.
“It saves us about a half a billion dollars in acquisition costs, and we’re off and running the program now,” Coast Guard commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp said in a news release.
In trade for the C-27Js, the Coast Guard is giving up seven aging C-130 transports, which will be repaired and transferred to the U.S. Forest Service for duty as firefighting tankers.