First HC-130J Block 8.1 upgrade complete
The first US Coast Guard HC-130J outfitted with the Block 8.1 upgrade has successfully completed operational testing, Lockheed Martin announced on 4 February.
The upgrade was installed by Lockheed Martin on a previously delivered HC-130J. With initial operational testing now complete the aircraft will be placed into operational service.
Lockheed Martin is currently contracted to deliver a minimum of six Block 8.1 upgrade kits to the coast guard. The upgrade adds new capabilities including a new flight management system that complies with CNS/ATM mandates, vertical navigation with coupled auto throttle, updated identification friend or foe and CNS/ATM data link. Other improvements include enhanced inter-communication system and approach and landing systems, expanded diagnostics, improved PA system, additional covert lighting and IAMSAR compliant search pattern programming.
In addition to the Block 8.1 upgrade, the coast guard is also integrating Minotaur mission system architecture into its fixed-wing fleet. Missionisation includes post-production modification of new C-130J aircraft to incorporate the specialised equipment necessary to carry out coast guard missions.
The agency is acquiring a fleet of 22 new, fully missionised HC-130J aircraft to replace its older HC-130Hs.
The HC-130J Super Hercules long-range surveillance aircraft provides heavy air transport and long-range maritime patrol capability. Each 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.
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