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Coast Guard accepts 17th C-130J long range surveillance aircraft


The Coast Guard’s newest C-130J takes off from Marietta, Georgia, Aug. 10, 2023. Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.

The Coast Guard accepted its 17th C-130J Super Hercules long range surveillance aircraft from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Marietta, Georgia, Aug. 10, 174 days ahead of its scheduled contract delivery date. Total cost of the aircraft was just under $75.3 million.

The aircraft was delivered to the Coast Guard in its baseline configuration and will operate out of the Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, until it undergoes missionization work at L-3 Communications Integrated Systems LP (L3Harris) in Waco, Texas.

“A baseline C-130J offers quite a bit of capability to an operational commander, and a missionized HC-130J is a force multiplier,” said Gerald Foreman, Long Range Surveillance Aircraft program manager. “The CG-9311 Program Management Office team is very proud of the fact that we are delivering the aircraft ahead of schedule and below budget.”

Although the aircraft is in a baseline C-130J configuration, it can be used as a training platform for aircrew and as a cargo aircraft for the movement of equipment and personnel between air stations until it enters the missionization process.

The installation of a Minotaur Mission System Suite including APY-11 multimode radar and completion of the Block 8.1 upgrade is scheduled to begin in November 2023. Full missionization of a C-130J takes approximately one year to complete, meaning the aircraft will join the Coast Guard fleet as a fully operational HC-130J late in 2024. The service’s 16th C-130J is currently undergoing the missionization and upgrade process, with delivery of that aircraft to the fleet anticipated in early 2024.

The Block 8.1 upgrade enhances intercommunication systems, approach and landing systems and expanded diagnostics. Civil GPS and additional covert lighting will also be included. In addition to continued Minotaur missionization efforts on new aircraft, the Coast Guard is completing  the block upgrade on all its HC-130J aircraft.

The service’s fleet of 15 HC-130Js is the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) largest airlift asset. Each aircraft is capable of serving as a command and control or surveillance platform from which crews can identify and classify objects while in flight, as well as share that information with operational forces. The fleet is used to execute a variety of Coast Guard missions including search and rescue, drug and migrant interdiction, cargo and personnel transport and maritime stewardship as well as providing critical support to DHS partners.

For more information: HC-130J program page