The U.S. Coast Guard recently accepted delivery of its sixth and final HC-130J Long Range Surveillance (LRS) aircraft.
The service completed a very successful acceptance flight on the sixth HC-130J Super Hercules on May 18. “This was the cleanest acceptance flight of them all, which reflects on the hard work of the contractor, our technical community, and our customer to incorporate lessons learned," said HC-130J Deputy Project Manager Scott Rettie.
This is the final HC-130J and the culmination of a successful effort to incorporate six world-class
LRS aircraft into the service’s mission-ready fleet.
Each HC-130J missionization included an extensive, nine-month refit of its airframe and installation of integrated radar, sensor and communications systems at the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Global Sustainment facility in Greenville, S.C. The missionized airplane is the first C-130 aircraft in the world to feature a 360-degree, belly-mounted surface search radar that gives operators more than one chance to see a person in the water.
The HC-130J Super Hercules offers significant performance benefits over the HC-130H model, including important improvements in speed, endurance and range. The HC-130J features new engines and propellers that give it a 20 percent increase in speed and altitude and a 40 percent increase in range over the HC-130H. In addition, the HC-130J can be operated by as few as three people compared to a four-to-five person crew needed for the HC-130H, resulting in lower operating costs.
The HC-130J shares many mission system components with the Coast Guard’s Medium Range Surveillance maritime patrol aircraft, the HC-144A Ocean Sentry. These common systems include a FLIR forward-looking infrared imaging system, the Rockwell Collins DF-430 direction-finding system and common operating picture software that make the HC-130J interoperable with other Coast Guard air and surface assets as well as those of partner agencies. The service will also continue to make technology investments and leverage technological improvements after delivery.
For the last three HC-130Js, the fleet operators at Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., and product line staff at the Aviation Logistics Center there conducted acceptance trials and performed the functions of an Asset Project Office (APO). The HC-130J APO was stood down concurrent with the establishment of initial operating capability for the first three aircraft in July 2008, allowing APO personnel and other resources to be transferred to operating units.
For more information on the Coast Guard’s HC-130 LRS project, please visit http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/lrs/.