Lockheed Martin representatives joined U.S. Coast Guard leaders and crew members for a ceremony on January 31 at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, celebrating the completion of operational testing of the first Coast Guard HC-130J Super Hercules outfitted with the Block 8.1 upgrade.
This upgrade was installed on a previously delivered HC-130J Super Hercules at the Lockheed Martin facility in Greenville, South Carolina. The aircraft recently completed initial operational testing and will be placed into operational service. Lockheed Martin is currently contracted to deliver a minimum of six Block 8.1 upgrade kits to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The U.S. Coast Guard HC-130J Block 8.1 upgrade adds new and advanced capabilities:
- a new flight management system that complies with Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS)/Air Traffic Management (ATM) mandates, and includes vertical navigation with coupled auto throttle;
- Civil GPS;
- Ground power modes;
- Updated Identification Friend or Foe (IFF);
- CNS/ATM Data Link;
- Enhanced inter-communication system;
- Enhanced approach and landing systems;
- Expanded diagnostics;
- Improved PA system;
- Additional covert lighting;
- International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) compliant search pattern programming.
«The U.S. Coast Guard has relied on its Hercules fleet for more than 60 years to support complicated missions that ensure our nation’s safety and security», said Peter London, director of Tactical Airlift Programs for Lockheed Martin’s Air Mobility & Maritime Missions line of business. «The advanced features and purpose-built design enhancements found in the Block 8.1 upgrade ensure that Coast Guard crews will rely on the HC-130J Super Hercules for mission support for many more decades to come».
In addition to the Block 8.1 upgrade, the Coast Guard is also integrating Minotaur mission system architecture into its fixed-wing aircraft. Missionization includes post-production modification of new C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to incorporate the specialized equipment necessary to carry out Coast Guard missions.
The Coast Guard’s HC-130J Super Hercules long-range surveillance aircraft provides heavy air transport and long-range maritime patrol capability. Each aircraft is capable of serving as an on-scene command and control platform or as a surveillance platform with the means to detect, classify and identify objects and share that information with operational forces.
The Coast Guard is acquiring a fleet of 22 new, fully missionized HC-130J Super Hercules aircraft to replace its older HC-130Hs.
The C-130J Super Hercules is the current production model of the C-130 Hercules airlifter. The Super Hercules is the global standard in tactical airlift, providing a unique mix of versatility and performance to complete any mission – anytime, anywhere. The global C-130J Super Hercules fleet has more than 2 million flight hours and is the airlifter of choice for 20 nations.