Feb. 12, 2020 —
The Coast Guard received the first HC-130J outfitted with the Block 8.1 upgrade from Lockheed Martin on Jan. 31 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Lockheed Martin is currently contracted to deliver a minimum of six Block 8.1 upgrade kits to the Coast Guard.
The upgrade adds new and advanced capabilities, some of which are required by the Federal Aviation Administration to access airspace and airports, including enhanced inter-communication system, enhanced approach and landing systems, expanded diagnostics, civil GPS and additional covert lighting.
The Coast Guard currently operates 11 HC-130Js as part of its long range surveillance aircraft fleet. In addition to the Block 8.1 upgrade, the Coast Guard is integrating Minotaur mission system architecture into its fixed-wing aircraft. Two C-130Js are undergoing missionization with delivery expected in February and July 2020. Three additional C-130Js are under construction, with delivery in 2020 and 2023. Upon delivery to the Coast Guard, missionization of these aircraft will take an additional year.
The Super Hercules carries out many Coast Guard missions, including search and rescue, drug and migrant interdiction, cargo and personnel transport, and maritime stewardship. The 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.
For more information: HC-130J Long Range Surveillance Aircraft Program page