An HC-144 Ocean Sentry medium range surveillance aircraft entered Minotaur mission system installation at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center (ALC) in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Oct. 2, 2017. This is the first aircraft to enter the ALC Minotaur production line and third HC-144 outfitted with Minotaur.
The Coast Guard transferred one of its C-27J Spartan medium range surveillance aircraft to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, Sept. 28, 2017, to become the prototype for C-27J missionization.
The Coast Guard accepted CGNR 2009, the first HC-130J outfitted with the Minotaur Mission System Suite directly following production, at the L3 Technologies Inc. Integrated Systems Platform Integration Division in Waco, Texas, Sept. 26, 2017.
Minotaur Mission System
Minotaur workstations, like the one shown above on the HC-130J, offer improved integration and presentation of video, flight data and other sensor information.
The Coast Guard is outfitting its new fixed-wing surveillance aircraft fleet with Minotaur mission system architecture. Minotaur incorporates sensors; radar; and command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment and enables aircrews to gather and process surveillance information that can be transmitted to other platforms and units during flight. The system was originally developed by the Navy and is used across multiple Defense and Homeland Security department platforms.
Why this program?
Minotaur integration was driven by obsolescence concerns: the legacy processors could not run the updated systems needed for optimal mission execution. Compared to these, Minotaur offers significant increases in speed and memory capability. The system is open-architecture and government-owned, so the Coast Guard will have more control over upgrades and be able to implement them more affordably. The Coast Guard is also taking advantage of Department of Defense logistics, including maintenance, training and spare parts, to keep life cycle costs down.
The Coast Guard formally decided to integrate Minotaur into the HC-130J and HC-144 fleets in September 2013. By this time, integration of the system into Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Navy maritime patrol aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems had already begun.
The Coast Guard is working with Naval Air Systems Command to develop Minotaur to meet Coast Guard mission requirements, and the Coast Guard’s Minotaur Mission System Integration Lab at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland is leading the development and integration work. Prototype installation for all aircraft began at Patuxent River.
HC-130J Super Hercules long range surveillance aircraft
The first aircraft in the Coast Guard fleet outfitted with Minotaur, CGNR 2003, was inducted into the mission system modification process in July 2015 and began test flights in June 2016. CGNR 2003 was delivered to the fleet in June 2017. The aircraft is based out of Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, where it is currently used to train new mission system operators. It completed its first search and rescue case with Minotaur Aug. 7, 2017. The Coast Guard oversees Minotaur integration on the aircraft at L3 Technologies Integrated Systems Platform Integration Division in Waco, Texas.
HC-144 Ocean Sentry medium range surveillance aircraft
The first Minotaur HC-144, CGNR 2307, was inducted into modification July 12, 2016. It was delivered to the fleet in July 2017 and is now used for training at Aviation Training Center Mobile, Alabama. The Minotaur production line transferred from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, to the Aviation Logistics Center (ALC) in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, in July 2017. The first two HC-144 aircraft to undergo Minotaur modifications at the ALC will have received separate Ocean Sentry Refresh upgrades, which update the aircraft’s avionics. The Coast Guard will combine Minotaur and Ocean Sentry Refresh modifications into one conversion process in fiscal year 2018.
The service is also basing the C-27J missionization package on the Minotaur mission system. Mission system integration on the first C-27J will begin at Patuxent River in fall 2017. Upon missionization, the aircraft will be redesignated as HC-27J.