MOORESTOWN, N.J. – Last Friday, Lockheed Martin delivered the first missionized HC-130J long-range surveillance maritime patrol aircraft to the U.S. Coast Guard. The aircraft’s new mission equipment and sensor packages are designed to deliver enhanced search, detection and tracking capabilities to perform maritime search and rescue, maritime law enforcement and homeland security missions.
“With the stroke of a pen, the most capable aircraft in the Coast Guard’s history is now in our inventory,” said Coast Guard Capt. Matthew Sisson, Deepwater aviation program manager, as he signed the acceptance papers on February 29.
Lockheed Martin is working under a fixed-price contract to deliver three missionized HC-130Js and is on schedule to complete the aircraft this month. A contract modification is expected in the coming weeks to begin work on the fourth aircraft. The contract modification will also include options for missionizing the remaining two aircraft to round out the Coast Guard inventory of six HC-130Js.
“Expectations run high as the fleet prepares to exploit the capabilities of the fully-missionized HC-130J,” said Cmdr. Tim Schang, HC-130J platform manager with the Coast Guard’s Office of Aviation Forces.
The aircraft modifications include installation of a belly-mounted surface search radar, a nose-mounted electro-optical infrared sensor, a flight deck mission operator station and a mission integrated communication system. The mission system installed on the HC-130J is derived from the same software series developed for the mission system pallet onboard the HC-144A maritime patrol aircraft concurrently in testing.
“The missionized HC-130J is ideal for multi-tasked operations,” said Rich Lockwood, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Coast Guard Systems business. “In addition to its new command and control and surveillance capability, the aircraft retains the full cargo carrying capability that has made the Hercules the most versatile airlift platform worldwide for more than 50 years.”