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Minotaur Aircraft Provide Imagery, Transport Cargo And Personnel In Hurricanes’ Aftermath


A view of flood damage over Houston as captured by the CGNR 2003

A view of flood damage over Houston as captured by the CGNR 2003, the first aircraft in the Coast Guard fleet outfitted with Minotaur mission system architecture. U.S. Coast Guard graphic.

The first Coast Guard aircraft outfitted with the Minotaur mission system suite, the HC-130J Super Hercules CGNR 2003, provided valuable flood imagery while transporting cargo and personnel during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma relief efforts.

Coast Guard Atlantic Area specifically requested use of an aircraft outfitted with Minotaur because of the system’s graphics processing capabilities. The mission system integrates imagery and data from multiple aircraft sensor streams, allowing operators to track targets and transmit information to other platforms and units. CGNR 2003 conducted flights – some more than nine hours long – and gathered imagery on 10 days between Aug. 27 and Sept. 11.  

The aircraft also transported more than 144,900 pounds and 107 passengers to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts and more than 66,000 pounds and 12 passengers to support relief for Hurricane Irma. Cargo included food, water, fuel, aids to navigation equipment and parts for other aircraft.

Also involved in operations was the HC-144B Ocean Sentry medium range surveillance aircraft outfitted with Minotaur that has been delivered to the fleet. That aircraft, CGNR 2307, transported more than 2,580 pounds of cargo and provided transportation for senior Coast Guard leaders to better coordinate with federal, state and local partners.

“It’s clear that operational commanders already appreciate the improved situational awareness and imagery capabilities provided by the Minotaur mission system,” said Joe Baker, Minotaur integrated project team lead. “While neither the HC-130J nor the HC-144B prototype aircraft are at initial operational capability as final software changes, initial crew training and additional system production requirements are achieved, the Minotaur-equipped aircraft are already in high demand due to the recent natural disasters.”

For more information: HC-130J program page and HC-144 program page