WASHINGTON – The U.S. Coast Guard announced today the first of six HC-130J aircraft began system integration testing of new mission and sensor packages Oct. 1 in Greenville, S.C. The new equipment is designed to deliver enhanced search, detection and tracking capabilities to perform maritime search and rescue, maritime law enforcement and homeland security missions.
While the aircraft leverages capabilities found in U.S. Air Force combat search and rescue aircraft, it retains the HC-130J’s cargo-carrying capacity. The upgrade includes belly-mounted 360-degree long-range search radar controlled by two mission system operator stations located behind the pilot and copilot. The new HC-130J’s are outfitted with multi-mode radar, electro-optical / infra-red technology and an improved mission communications system
“We look forward to proving this unprecedented capability on the HC-130J and then getting it to our operational commanders,” said Capt. Mike Emerson, the Coast Guard’s chief of aviation forces.
Modification work is now underway on the first three aircraft with delivery of the first modified HC-130J scheduled for February 2008. The sixth and final modification is scheduled for completion in September, 2008. This project is one of several major aircraft and ship modernization efforts now underway. The HC-130J uses components also installed on the Coast Guard’s new medium range surveillance maritime patrol aircraft, the HC-144A.
“Providing long-range surveillance capability to all of our maritime patrol aircraft validates our commitment to delivering the right tools to our fleet,” said Capt. Matt Sisson, chief of the Coast Guard’s aviation acquisition programs.
For more information on the Coast Guard’s long range search aircraft solution, visit the Coast Guard Acquisition website.