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The Coast Guard accepted its 16th missionized HC-130J Super Hercules long range surveillance aircraft Feb. 19, 2024, from L3Harris in Waco, Texas. CGNR 2016 was delivered to Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

The Coast Guard’s first fully missionized HC-27J medium range surveillance aircraft completed its inaugural flight Sept. 6, 2023.

The Coast Guard completed work on CGNR 2318, its 14th HC-144B Ocean Sentry medium range surveillance aircraft outfitted with both the Minotaur mission system and Ocean Sentry refresh modifications, Jan. 17, 2023. The aircraft will be the first updated aircraft for Air Station Cape Cod, Massachusetts. 

Minotaur Mission System

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 fixed-wing surveillance aircraft fleet with Minotaur mission system architecture. Minotaur incorporates sensors, radar and command, control, communications, computers, cyber, 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 has more control over upgrades and can 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.

How are the upgrades implemented?

The Coast Guard formally decided to integrate Minotaur into the HC-130J and HC-144 fleets in September 2013. Integration of the system into Customs and Border Protection and Navy maritime patrol aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems was already underway at that time.

The Coast Guard has worked 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 delivered in June 2017. Since then, Minotaur has been installed on 14 additional HC-130Js. Air stations Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and Kodiak, Alaska, have their full complement of HC-130Js equipped with Minotaur, while Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, began its transition in the summer of 2021. The Coast Guard oversees Minotaur integration on the aircraft at L3Harris in Waco, Texas.

HC-144 Ocean Sentry medium range surveillance aircraft

HC-144 Minotaur production is underway at the Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City. The first Minotaur HC-144, CGNR 2307, was delivered to the fleet in July 2017. Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, has its full complement of HC-144Bs equipped with Minotaur and Aviation Training Center Mobile, Alabama, and Air Station Miami have the majority of their aircraft integrated. Air Station Cape Cod received its first HC-144B in January 2023. To date, 14 HC-144 aircraft have undergone Minotaur integration and received Ocean Sentry Refresh upgrades, which update the aircraft’s avionics.

C-27J Spartan medium range surveillance aircraft

The service is also basing the C-27J missionization package on the Minotaur mission system. The first Spartan entered the missionization process at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in September 2017; integration work on the prototype is complete and prototype testing is underway. Installation on three additional aircraft is progressing.

This view from the Minotaur mission system operator aboard CGNR 2004 shows a vessel in distress following rough weather. CGNR 2004’s crew successfully dropped a radio can to establish communications with the vessel.


  • Commonality of command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance components and capabilities across all Coast Guard fixed-wing surveillance aircraft
  • Interoperability with multiple Defense and Homeland Security department platforms
  • Real-time tracking and Rescue 21 integration to enhance common operating picture and maritime domain awareness
  • Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast technology to receive traffic and weather broadcasts and information about other aircraft, including identification, position and altitude
  • Tactical screen replay to review a target’s entire flight in seconds and track the target via its trajectory, even if the target stops broadcasting information or otherwise evades the sensors

Minotaur: In the News


March 7, 2024 - Coast Guard accepts 16th missionized HC-130J into fleet


Sept. 6, 2023 - First missionized Coast Guard HC-27J completes inaugural flight

Jan. 25, 2023 - Coast Guard delivers 14th Minotaur-missionized HC-144 to fleet


Oct. 11, 2022 - Coast Guard awards contract for radar systems for new C-130Js

Aug. 2, 2022 - Coast Guard accepts delivery of 13th upgraded HC-144B aircraft

July 20, 2022 - Coast Guard awards contract for C-130J missionization


Oct. 29, 2021 - Coast Guard accepts missionized HC-130J aircraft

Oct. 25, 2021 - Coast Guard delivers 11th Minotaur-missionized HC-144 to fleet

July 22, 2021 - Coast Guard delivers 10th Minotaur-missionized HC-144 to fleet

June 17, 2021 - Coast Guard begins HC-130J operations at Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii


Dec. 21, 2020 - Coast Guard delivers ninth Minotaur-missionized HC-144 to fleet

Sept. 21, 2020 - Coast Guard delivers eighth Minotaur missionized HC-144 to the fleet

May 6, 2020 - Coast Guard accepts 14th C-130J aircraft


Sept. 16, 2019 - Final HC-130J with legacy mission system completes Minotaur missionization

July 25, 2019 - Coast Guard acquisition excellence on full display at DHS awards ceremony

July 2, 2019 - Coast Guard accepts 10th missionized HC-130J aircraft

April 29, 2019 - Coast Guard accepts 13th C-130J aircraft

March 28, 2019 - Final HC-130J with legacy mission system inducted into Minotaur missionization

March 13, 2019 - Coast Guard delivers missionized HC-144s to fleet

Feb. 12, 2019 - Coast Guard accepts missionized HC-130J aircraft


Dec. 10, 2018 - Coast Guard accepts delivery of Minotaur missionized HC-130J

Sept. 10, 2018 - Coast Guard releases request for information on HC-130J missionization, upgrades

June 22, 2018 - Coast Guard awards HC-130J Minotaur Mission System Suite retrofit option, accepts separate HC-130J following Minotaur retrofit

May 17, 2018 - Coast Guard delivers latest HC-130J for Minotaur retrofit

April 10, 2018 - Coast Guard accepts second HC-130J outfitted with Minotaur from baseline configuration

March 5, 2018 - Coast Guard delivers HC-130J for Minotaur retrofit

Feb. 7, 2018 - Coast Guard accepts HC-130J following Minotaur retrofit

Jan. 12, 2018 - Coast Guard exercises HC-130J Minotaur installation options


Nov. 7, 2017 - Coast Guard accepts first HC-130J retrofitted with Minotaur under missionization contract

Oct. 11, 2017 - HC-144 Minotaur installation begins at ALC

Sept. 29, 2017 - Coast Guard transfers first C-27J for missionization work

Sept. 27, 2017 - Coast Guard accepts first HC-130J outfitted with Minotaur from baseline configuration

Sept. 20, 2017 - Minotaur aircraft provide imagery, transport cargo and personnel in hurricanes’ aftermath

Aug. 14, 2017 - First Coast Guard Minotaur aircraft conducts search and rescue

July 28, 2017 - HC-144 Minotaur prototype delivered to fleet

July 11, 2017 - Coast Guard exercises option for fourth HC-130J Minotaur retrofit

June 21, 2017 - HC-130J Minotaur prototype delivered to fleet

May 25, 2017 - Second HC-130J enters Minotaur production

April 25, 2017 - HC-144 program reaches Ocean Sentry refresh, Minotaur Mission System milestones

March 30, 2017 - Coast Guard awards HC-130J Minotaur Mission System Suite retrofit option


Dec. 27, 2016 - Coast Guard Awards HC-130J Minotaur Missionization Option

Dec. 12, 2016 - Coast Guard Highlights HC-130J Mission Capabilities At Patuxent River Air Show

Aug. 8, 2016 - Senior Coast Guard Officials Observe Minotaur Demonstration

Aug. 2, 2016 - Coast Guard Conducts HC-144B Minotaur Risk-Reduction Flights

July 20, 2016 - Coast Guard Establishes HC-130J Minotaur Fleet Integration Team

July 14, 2016 - Coast Guard Begins HC-144B Minotaur Prototype Integration

June 21, 2016 - Coast Guard Begins HC-130J Minotaur Prototype In-Flight Testing


Sept. 22, 2015 - Coast Guard Awards Contract For C-130J Missionization With Minotaur

March 13, 2015 - Coast Guard Issues RFP For C-130J Missionization With Minotaur