On Aug., 29, 2008, Coast Guard officials awarded a contract to Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS) to missionize the fourth HC-130J Long Range Surveillance (LRS) Aircraft at Lockheed Martin in Greenville, S.C. The missionization process is a critical step in providing the C-130J the capabilities necessary to effectively perform the broad set of Coast Guard missions required of the new long-range search aircraft stationed at 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, law enforcement, pollution prevention, logistics, and personnel transport. However, with its new technology, it will perform these missions more efficiently and effectively.
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 20 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 C-130J 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 ICGS 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 aircraft will be inducted at Lockheed Martin in Greenville, S.C., by Oct. 31, with an estimated completion date of first quarter FY10. The DD-250 would be signed by the Coast Guard at that point to certify acceptance of the aircraft from ICGS.
Priced options were negotiated to complete the missionization of aircraft five and six, although funding has not yet been identified to exercise those options. Future year budget requests will be submitted to fund them.
For more information: HC-130H/J Long Range Surveillance Aircraft project page