The US Coast Guard has taken delivery of its 15th C-130J Super Hercules long range surveillance aircraft from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Marietta, Georgia.
The aircraft was delivered on November 18 and flown to Elizabeth City, North Carolina, a day later.
It is scheduled to undergo the Minotaur mission system suite modification program by L3Harris ISR Systems in mid-January 2021. The program will outfit the plane with Minotaur software and Coast Guard-specific integrated radar, sensors and communication systems in a process called missionization, after which the aircraft will be redesignated as an HC-130J.
The Coast Guard is acquiring a fleet of 22 new, fully missionized HC-130J aircraft to replace its legacy HC-130Hs.
A Block 8.1 upgrade adding advanced capabilities including enhanced inter-communication systems, enhanced approach and landing systems, expanded diagnostics, civil GPS and additional covert lighting will also be completed.
The Coast Guard currently has 17 HC-130J aircraft in either operational use or active production. In addition to continued Minotaur missionization efforts on new aircraft, the service has plans to complete the block upgrade on all its HC-130J aircraft.
The service’s fleet of HC-130Js is the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) largest airlift asset, carrying out many Coast Guard missions, including search and rescue, drug and migrant interdiction, cargo and personnel transport and maritime stewardship while providing critical support to DHS partners. The aircraft also can serve as a command and control or surveillance platform capable of identifying and classifying objects and sharing that information with operational forces.