Air Station Kodiak is expected to receive five HC-130J model planes by the end of 2019 to replace the five HC-130H model planes currently there.
The HC-130J improves upon the HC-130H with more advanced engines and propellers, which provide a 20 percent increase in speed and altitude, and a 40 percent increase in range over the HC-130H. The new aircraft also features state-of-the-art avionics, including all-glass cockpit displays and improved navigation equipment – a feature that will aid in Alaska’s unforgiving weather and terrain. The HC-130J’s suite of command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) equipment helps to extend the fleet’s mission capabilities.
Like its predecessor, the HC-130J is specifically modified for Coast Guard operations to include sea search radar, forward-looking infrared sensors, an enhanced communications suite and air-deliverable life rafts and survival kits.
These improvements translate to faster response times to mariners in peril, extended on-scene times for searching during law enforcement patrols and a general increase in effectiveness and versatility. A key feature of the HC-130J includes the ability to execute precision air-delivery drops of survival gear to mariners at night, in zero-visibility, which is something its predecessor could not do.
“The Coast Guard recognizes the strategic and economic importance of Alaska. We have always been an enthusiastic partner with the state, protecting the maritime public and safeguarding the environment,” said Capt. B.E. Dailey, Air Station Kodiak commanding officer. “This new aircraft, with its increased capabilities, represents the Coast Guards continued commitment to the state and will greatly improve our ability respond while providing an additional margin of safety for our crews.”
Since 1959, the U.S. Coast Guard has executed many of its aviation missions with C-130 variants, the newest being the HC-130J. The arrival of this more capable aircraft marks a significant milestone in Coast Guard aviation and Air Station Kodiak’s modernization of the aging HC-130H fleet.
The Coast Guard utilizes the C-130 platform for a variety of missions including search and rescue, long-range maritime patrol, enforcement of laws and treaties, illegal drug interdiction, marine environmental protection, military readiness and International Ice Patrol missions, as well as cargo and personnel transport.
Air Station Kodiak is the second Coast Guard air station to employ the latest C-130 variation since Lockheed Martin delivered the first Coast Guard HC-130J in 2003. Air Station Kodiak is excited to take advantage of this cutting-edge search and rescue platform in the Coast Guard’s harshest operating environment.
Source and images: US Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Harper