The Coast Guard completed the first HC-130H Hercules Center Wing Box (CWB) replacement Aug. 12, in partnership with the U.S. Air Force’s 402nd Maintenance Support Group at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. This major safety and sustainment effort enables the aircraft to remain in-service through 2027. The Coast Guard has scheduled a second HC-130H CWB replacement to commence later this year. The work will take approximately 10 months to complete. The Coast Guard plans to accomplish a total of six CWB upgrades by the end of 2017.
The CWB is a crucial component of the HC-130. A large rectangular box that attaches the wings to the aircraft fuselage, the CWB is the primary aircraft structural component and carries the entire aircraft load. Inspections of the Coast Guard’s 22 HC-130Hs revealed the CWB on several aircraft are reaching the end of their useful service life. As a result, these aircraft must operate under restricted flight profiles to include reduced takeoff weight and airspeed. By replacing the CWBs the Coast Guard will ensure the continued operational effectiveness and safety. The Coast Guard is accomplishing CWB replacements as part of regularly programmed depot maintenance, leveraging a close partnership with the Air Force.
The HC-130H/J Hercules and Super Hercules are the Coast Guard’s Long Range Surveillance (LRS) aircraft. These airplanes provide heavy air transport and meet long-range maritime patrol requirements in vast areas of responsibility. Today, five Coast Guard air stations operate LRS aircraft, including both HC-130Hs and HC-130Js. As the Coast Guard acquires more of the newer HC-130Js, the service will retire some of the HC-130Hs, helping to reduce the overall cost of owning and operating the LRS fleet. Meanwhile, efforts such as the CWB replacement will help keep these important aircraft flying.
While the new advanced CWBs will not provide any new capabilities, the action will enable their continued use on the Coast Guard strategic and statutory missions of maritime safety, maritime security, protection of natural resources, maritime mobility and national defense.
To learn more about the HC-130H Hercules Project, please visit: http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/lrs/