US Coast Guard accepts another Minotaur HC-130J

The latest US Coast Guard Lockheed Martin HC-130J Super Hercules to be retroitted with the Minotaur long-range surveillance system (serial number 2006) was delivered to Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina on November 16, 2018.

Installation work was performed by L-3 Systems’ Integrated Systems Platform Integration Division at Waco, Texas.

The Minotaur mission system architecture integrates sensors, radar and Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems, enabling crews to gather and process surveillance information, which can be shared with other assets during a mission. Originally developed by the US Navy, the system is used by several US military and Department of Homeland Security platforms.

The US Coast Guard is itting the Minotaur system to its ixed-wing surveillance leet, including HC-130J Hercules, HC- 144 Ocean Sentry and HC-27J Spartan platforms.

The irst HC-130J to be part of the retroit process (serial number 2003) was inducted in July 2015 and began test lying in June 2016, before being delivered back to the Coast Guard in June 2017.

The service intends to acquire 22 HC-130J Super Hercules to replace older HC-130H Hercules and currently operates 11 aircraft. Of these, two (serial numbers 2009 and 2010) were modiied with Minotaur on Lockheed Martin’s C-130J/L-100 production line in Marietta, Georgia, and the remaining nine are cycling through the upgrade process.

Aircraft 2006 is the irst aircraft to incorporate a multi-function control display unit to control mission system radios and enhance interaction with the Minotaur software. The display unit has been designed by the US Coast Guard in conjunction with the US Navy and John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and intended to eliminate technical issues and reduce the cost of obsolescence. Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City is the primary base for the Coast Guard’s HC-130J Super Hercules. Nigel Pittaway