Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, received its second HC-130J long range surveillance aircraft, CGNR 2014, Jan. 21. The advanced capabilities of the HC-130J – especially the 40 percent increase in range over the HC-130H aircraft it is replacing – are critical in serving the vast area of the Pacific covered by the air station, including Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa.
The increase in range comes from the HC-130J’s more advanced engines and propellers, which also provide a 20 percent increase in speed and altitude over the legacy aircraft. Another notable difference is the liquid oxygen system, which allows crews to fly at higher altitudes, providing a better vantage point for many missions. The HC-130J have a modernized glass cockpit, the capability to execute GPS approaches, and are outfitted with the Minotaur Mission System Suite, which provides increased capabilities for use of the sensors, radar and intelligence-gathering equipment.
To put the increased capabilities into perspective: Air Station Barbers Point recently completed a maritime surveillance patrol in Oceania at the request of a partner nation concerned about illegal activity in its exclusive economic zone. With an HC-130J, the crew was able to make it to and from Guam in one leg each way, while the HC-130H range necessitates an overnight stop while en route to Guam.
Air Station Barbers Point is scheduled to receive two additional HC-130J Super Hercules to complete its transition, which is anticipated by the end of 2022. Air stations Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and Kodiak, Alaska, have already transitioned to the HC-130J.
The service’s HC-130Js carry out many 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. The aircraft also can serve as a command and control or surveillance platform capable of identifying and classifying objects and sharing that information with operational forces.