The U.S. Coast Guard has accepted delivery of its 11th C-130J Super Hercules, according to a Coast Guard news release. The service accepted the long range surveillance aircraft at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ Marietta, Georgia, facility on Nov. 21, 2017.
The aircraft was delivered unpainted and in its baseline configuration. Coast Guard C-130Js undergo missionization with the Minotaur Mission System Suite modification program at L-3 Technologies’ Integrated Systems Platform Integration Division in Waco, Texas.
The Minotaur Mission System Suite has been developed jointly with the U.S. Navy. Missionization of the C-130Js includes the addition of radar, sensor, and communications systems. These include an electro-optical sensor system and Automatic Identification System (AIS) common to the HC-130H and HC-144A, but also add an Exelis/ELTA AN/APY-11 belly-mounted radar. Like the “saucer” mounted above the fuselage of U.S. Air Force E-3 AWACS aircraft, the dish of the AN/APY-11 rotates a complete 360 degrees, providing an unprecedented field of regard for the aircraft. The aircraft will also be painted while there, after which the designation will change to HC-130J.
The HC-130J boasts approximately 20 percent greater speed and up to 40 percent more range than the legacy HC-130H. The Coast Guard expects to have a total of 22 HC-130Js in its fleet, and will phase out the HC-130H aircraft as the HC-130Js joint the fleet. So far seven out of 10 Super Hercules delivered are flying from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Three have the Minotaur system installed, and four others are operating with the legacy mission system. The next missionized aircraft is scheduled to be delivered in 2018.