Lockheed Martin has delivered the first Block 8.1 upgrade HC-130J to the US Coast Guard which
"Lockheed Martin representatives joined U.S. Coast Guard leaders and crew members for a ceremony on Jan. 31 at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, celebrating the completion of operational testing of the first Coast Guard HC-130J outfitted with the Block 8.1 upgrade," the company said in a statement Tuesday.
This upgrade was installed on a previously delivered HC-130J at the Lockheed Martin facility in Greenville, South Carolina. The aircraft recently completed initial operational testing and will be placed into operational service. The company is currently contracted to deliver a minimum of six Block 8.1 upgrade kits to the US Coast Guard.
The Block 8.1 upgrade adds new and advanced capabilities such as a new flight management system that complies with CNS/ATM mandates and includes vertical navigation with coupled auto throttle, civil GPS, ground power modes, updated identification of friend or foe, CNS/ATM Data Link, enhanced inter-communication system, enhanced approach and landing systems, expanded diagnostics, improved PA system, additional covert lighting, and IAMSAR compliant search pattern programming.
“The advanced features and purpose-built design enhancements found in the Block 8.1 upgrade ensure that Coast Guard crews will rely on the HC-130J for mission support for many more decades to come," said Peter London, director of Tactical Airlift Programs for Lockheed Martin’s Air Mobility & Maritime Missions line of business.
In addition to the Block 8.1 upgrade, the Coast Guard is also integrating Minotaur mission system architecture into its fixed-wing aircraft. Missionization includes post-production modification of new C-130J aircraft to incorporate the specialized equipment necessary to carry out Coast Guard missions.
The Coast Guard’s 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.
The Coast Guard is acquiring a fleet of 22 new, fully missionized HC-130J aircraft to replace its older HC-130Hs.
The C-130J Super Hercules is the current production model of the C-130 Hercules airlifter.