The U.S. Coast Guard accepted its 12th missionized HC-130J Super Hercules long-range surveillance aircraft from L3 Technologies Inc. Integrated Systems Platform Integration Division, on Feb. 27.
The aircraft, CGNR 2012, was delivered to the Coast Guard in its baseline configuration in 2019. CGNR 2012 was then outfitted with Minotaur mission system software as well as Coast Guard-specific integrated radar, sensors and communication systems in a process called missionization, and redesignated an HC-130J.
CGNR 2012 is an operational spare for the Coast Guard fleet and will be stationed at the Aviation Logistics Center until October 2020, at which time it is scheduled to be transferred to Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
One more C-130J is undergoing missionization with delivery expected in July 2020.
The Coast Guard currently has 17 HC-130J aircraft in either operational use or active production. In addition to continued Minotaur missionization efforts on new aircraft, the service is implementing a Block 8.1 upgrade. The C-130J airframe manufacturer, Lockheed Martin is currently contracted to deliver a minimum of six Block 8.1 upgrade kits to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The first HC-130J aircraft outfitted with the Block 8.1 upgrade was delivered to the Coast Guard by Lockheed Martin last month. Three additional C-130Js are under construction, with delivery in 2020 and 2023. Upon delivery to the Coast Guard, the missionization of these aircraft will take an additional year.
The Coast Guard’s fleet of HC-130Js is the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) largest airlift asset, providing critical support to DHS partners as well as carrying out many Coast Guard missions, including search and rescue (SAR), drug and migrant interdiction, cargo and personnel transport, and maritime stewardship. The aircraft is capable of serving as an on-scene command and control platform or as a surveillance platform with the means to detect, classify and identify objects and share that information with operational forces.
The Coast Guard is acquiring a fleet of 22 new, fully missionized HC-130J aircraft to replace its older HC-130Hs.