Acquisition Update: Missionized HC-130J Conducts First Open Water Test Flight
February 8, 2008
A Coast Guard aircrew, accompanied by Lockheed Martin system engineers, flew the first missionized HC-130J Long Range Surveillance Maritime Patrol Aircraft open water test flight on Feb. 1. Results from the seven hour flight indicate that new mission systems radios and sensors were fully operational and performed as required. The positive outcome of this first open water test flight incorporates lesson learned from the Coast Guard’s HC-144A Ocean Sentry mission pallet and sensor installation and reflects the solid preparatory work done by both the program office and the contractor.
Two essential features of the new modification are the nose mounted Forward-Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR) Electro Optics/Infrared (EO/IR), and belly mounted Multi-Mode Radar (MMR). The 360 degree belly MMR is the first of its kind on a HC-130 aircraft. Targets were visible on the displays at altitudes exceeding 5000 feet and 100 nautical miles.
Automatic Identification System (AIS) contact information filled the HC-130J’s consoles soon after the aircraft lifted off from the airfield in Greenville, S.C. and miles before transitioning out over the open ocean. Several other newly installed communications, data transfer and digital control systems were also tested. INMARSAT phone calls to the Coast Guard and Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS) project managers reported the successful test results and the few noted discrepancies, which mostly related to system lighting.
Communication interfaces with the HC-144A and two more mission system test flights will be accomplished over the next week followed by a short maintenance and system adjustments period.