A draft request for proposal was released in March 2017, stating that the Coast Guard was looking for a "persistent, tactical airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability that can remain airborne for at least twelve hours per day."
As Cmdr. Daniel Broadhurst, unmanned aircraft systems division chief in the Office of Aviation Forces, said:
The UAS has already proven itself to be a transformational technology, and the deployment of this capability to the entirety of the [National Security Cutter] fleet is an incredibly important first step in realizing the Coast Guard’s vision of fleet-wide UAS implementation.
Until now, USCG has been using ScanEagle in a limited basis when the system deployed aboard the USCGC Stratton. ScanEagle helped the Coast interdict an estimated $165 million worth of cocaine during a two month period in 2017.
ScanEagle can remain on air for more than 24 hours, can cruise at 55 knots with a maximum speed of 90 knots, and has service ceiling of 15,000 feet. The system is shot from a pneumatic launcher and recovered using a hook and arresting wire. ScanEagle is 8.2-feet long and has a 16-foot wingspan.
ScanEagle hardware will be installed on USCGC James this fall, then on USCGC Munro in early 2019, and on USCGC Bertholf in late spring or early summer 2019.