The aircraft – CGNR 2009 – will operate in its base configuration until it undergoes a missionization process that includes installation of specialized systems and sensors for Coast Guard missions beginning in September 2016. When missionization is complete, CGNR 2009 will be designated as an HC-130J.
The service has begun standardizing mission systems across its fixed-wing fleet with the Naval Air Systems Command Minotaur mission control processor. The Coast Guard is reviewing proposals to modify new and retrofit existing Super Hercules aircraft with the Minotaur mission system architecture and expects to award a contract by October.
The HC-130J aircraft offers increased capabilities and reduced operating and maintenance costs compared to the current fleet of HC-130H’s.
Of the nine Super Hercules aircraft that have been delivered, five are in service at Elizabeth City, one is in depot-level maintenance, two are undergoing missionization under a previous contract for delivery in 2016, and one is being prepared to serve as the Minotaur prototype at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.
The next two aircraft are in production at Lockheed Martin and will be delivered in the base configuration in 2016 and 2017. Funding for a 12th HC-130J was received earlier this year.