Lockheed Martin Formally Delivers Coast Guard HC-130J Airlifters For Maritime And Homeland Security Missions
CGAS Elizabeth City, NC, 31-OCT-03 -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] formally delivered the first HC-130J Super Hercules airlifters to the Coast Guard in ceremonies here today. The new aircraft will serve in a number of roles for the Coast Guard, which now falls under the Department of Homeland Security. The new aircraft will eventually replace the service's oldest HC-130H long-range maritime patrol aircraft, a number of which were built in the early 1970s.
As part of the ceremony, the Coast Guard's HC-130J Aircraft Project Office (APO), which will conduct initial aircrew and maintenance training and develop a support and operations concept for the aircraft, was formally established. Lockheed Martin has established a technical and customer support center as an adjunct to the APO.
"We take a lot of pride in delivering these Super Hercules aircraft during the centennial year of powered flight," said Ross Reynolds, Lockheed Martin C-130J program vice president. "It is particularly gratifying to deliver them to the Coast Guard, who was with the Wright brothers at the very beginning. The HC-130 has been the Coast Guard's primary long-range search and rescue and maritime patrol aircraft since 1959, and the HC-130J will continue, and will expand, that legacy."
On Dec. 17, 1903, volunteers from the Life Saving Service station (as the Coast Guard was then called) on North Carolina's Outer Banks assisted Wilbur and Orville Wright as they prepared their flying machine for mankind's first manned, powered, sustained and controlled flight. A Coast Guardsman, John T. Daniels, even took the photograph of the first flight.
A Lockheed Martin crew flew the first HC-130J for the first time on Dec. 17, 2002, the 99th anniversary of the Wrights' epic flight, and the 100th C-130J built carries the Coast Guard tail number 2003. Four HC-130Js have been delivered, and the last two aircraft currently on contract for the Coast Guard are scheduled for delivery from the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, Ga., later this year.
The HC-130Js will increase Coast Guard capability in the service's primary mission areas: long-range search and rescue; law enforcement (which includes alien migrant interdiction, living marine resources and counter-drug operations); airlift; other homeland security operations as necessary; and to augment Department of Defense operations during contingencies.
At first, the HC-130Js, which have the enhanced cargo-handling system that allows rapid conversion from in-floor load tiedowns to rollers for palletized cargo, will be operated in a logistics support role, allowing the Coast Guard's fully missionized HC-130H fleet to be better utilized on maritime patrol and homeland security missions. Currently, the Coast Guard's HC-130Hs, the last of which were delivered in the early 1980s, have among the highest operational tempos of any C-130 fleet in the world, with aircraft being flown roughly 1,000 hours a year.
With funding now available, the Coast Guard will initiate a development program to fully missionize the HC-130J. Modifications likely will include the installation of a large window on each side of the fuselage to allow crew members to visually scan the sea surface, and the addition of an inverse synthetic aperture sea search radar, flare tubes, a forward-looking infrared/electro-optical sensor, a gaseous oxygen system for the crew and an enhanced communications suite. When the fully missionized HC-130Js enter operational service, they are likely to be stationed at CGAS Kodiak, Alaska.
A total of 179 C-130Js and longer fuselage length C-130J-30s are on order, and 105 have been delivered to date. In the United States, Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard units fly C-130Js, C-130J-30s and two specialized C-130J variants; the Marine Corps operates KC-130J tankers; and now the Coast Guard with the HC-130J. International C-130J operators include the Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force and Italian Air Force. The Royal Danish Air Force will receive its first C-130J-30 next year. The capabilities and performance of the Super Hercules in supporting light, fast and lethal combat operations make it a true transformational asset.