HC-130J: Super Hercules
The USCG has been flying HC-130J aircraft since the first aircraft was delivered in 2003 and went into initial operational capability in 2008. There are currently six HC-130J aircraft in the USCG inventory with an additional three on order through the manufacturer. All operational aircraft are based at the air station in Elizabeth City, NC, and operate primarily off the eastern seaboard. The HC-130J aircraft are worldwide deployable and can often be found supporting counter-narcotics operations in the Eastern Pacific, long range Search and Rescue in the Atlantic, or marine safety missions operating International Ice Patrol from Newfoundland, Canada.
The HC-130J aircraft has a unique mission system suite installed on the aircraft. The mission system suite includes a two operator workstation on the flight deck, a nose-mounted EO/IR pod, a belly-mounted surface search radar, as well as other communication and surveillance sensors.
The HC-130J is a major upgrade from the legacy C-130’s employed by the USCG since 1959. The cockpit avionics upgrades, coupled with more efficient engine and propeller designs, allow the aircraft to fly higher, get on scene faster, stay on scene longer and fly safer than any other fixed wing aircraft in the USCG inventory. This allows for significant savings in terms of operational and logistical costs.
The USCG plans to replace all older model HC-130H aircraft with HC-130J aircraft by 2027.