Acquisition Update: Coast Guard Accepts Third “Missionized” HC-130J Aircraft
May 23, 2008
Coast Guard officials accepted the third “Missionized” HC-130J Long Range Surveillance (LRS) Aircraft, tail number 2003, on May 12, 2008, in Greenville, S.C., following successful completion of the formal acceptance procedures. The aircraft returned to the HC-130J Acquisition Program Office (APO) in Elizabeth City, N.C., on May 13, 2008, where it joined two other missionized aircraft and three un-missionized aircraft in preparation for attaining HC-130J fleet Initial Operating Capability (IOC) on July 1, 2008. Delivery of this aircraft is a critical step in providing the C-130J the mission capabilities necessary to effectively assume the role of the new long-range search aircraft in Elizabeth City, N.C., replacing the oldest legacy 1500-series HC-130H aircraft.
The Coast Guard’s C-130J “Hercules” is based on the robust C-130 basic airframe design, but new engines, propellers, avionics, and cargo-handling equipment quickly set this new aircraft apart from its predecessor. The C-130J will assume the traditional duties of the HC-130H, which include search and rescue, homeland security, pollution prevention, logistics, and personnel transport.
With its Allison AE2100 engines and Dowty six-bladed propellers, the C-130J boasts advanced performance over the H model by a 20 percent increase in speed, a 40 percent increase in range, and a 40 percent higher cruising altitude. It can climb higher and faster than the H model, yet takeoff and land on shorter runways.
A completely redesigned cockpit with an integrated, digital flight management system allows the C130J to be operated by a two-person flight deck crew, as compared to the four- to five-person crew of the H model. Dual head-up displays provide pilots with essential flight information and increase safety during low-level maneuvers, including takeoffs and landings in reduced visibility. A high-resolution, ground-mapping radar, integrated with on-board global positioning system (GPS) and inertial navigation system, provides aircrews with precise navigation and situational awareness. An enhanced cargo-handling system provides loadmasters with the ability to automatically calculate weight and balance data and, also, quickly change cargo compartment configuration to accommodate different payloads.
The C-130J Missionization Project leverages the technology that was developed by Integrated Coast Guard Systems for the HC-144A (“Ocean Sentry”) Maritime Patrol Aircraft. The missionization suite includes a surface search radar, a forward-looking infrared (FLIR)/electro-optical sensor, satellite and emergency response radios, all controlled through a flight deck-mounted operator station.
The Coast Guard is awaiting proposal(s) that will include missionization of the remaining three aircraft, plus Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET) capability for all six aircraft.
Once the proposal is properly vetted, the Coast Guard will determine if it has sufficient funds to complete C130J aircraft four.
C130J aircraft five and six will await additional funding.
Twenty technical issues were carried forward on the Material Inspection and Receiving Report (Form DD250). The issues are a variety of minor discrepancies with communications and electrical components of the mission system installation. Each of the issues is listed within the formal Letter of Technical Exception (LOTE) with an expected date of completion. Per that letter, funds will be held back from the contractor until all issues are successfully resolved.