Navy Times is reporting that Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak C-130s will be replaced with more capable C-130Js by 2020.
This is a very welcome change. According to the Acquisitions directorate,
“The HC-130J has a more advanced engine 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-market avionics, including all-glass cockpit displays and improved navigation equipment. The HC-130J’s suite of command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) equipment – comparable to that of the HC-144 Ocean Sentry medium range surveillance aircraft – helps to extend the fleet’s mission capabilities.”
Higher speed, longer range, shorter take-off and landing, better climb rate, better sensors, more intuitive cockpit, better terrain avoidance. Not bad.
Douglas RD “Dolphin” (1932)
Just wanted to mention a link I recently added to the “References” page. “Aircraft Used in Coast Guard Aviation” has photos and links to information about what appears to all the aircraft the Coast Guard has used throughout its history. This is a project of the Coast Guard Aviation Association.
They also have a chronological history, accounts of notable SAR cases, and a section called “In their own words” that includes historical narratives, hangar tales, and oral histories.
Caller.com reports that the Coast Guard has begun moving aircraft from Naval Air Station Corpus Christi to a new facility at the Corpus Christi International Airport.
“It gives the Coast Guard quick access to the primary runway. Being at this airport, our control tower is 24-7, the airport is open 24-7,” Gross said. “We also have police, EMS and fire department crews here. There are things here they wouldn’t normally get at the naval base.”
The move was accelerated because of damage to the Naval Air Station facility that resulted from Hurricane Harvey.
I did an earlier post on this aircraft because it was offered also as a potential Coast Guard ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) asset for Coast Guards, but this post seemed to offer enough new insights to justify another post.
It still appears to be a economical, highly flexible, reconfigurable alternative to land based UAVs, that can quickly put sensors where we need them, with additional potential for air-policing and an armed response to maritime terrorist attacks.
I’ll also add this quote I added to the previous post as a comment, from http://www.sldinfo.com/an-update-on-the-scorpion-weapons-separation-testing-progress/
Given all the attention the attack component of the Scorpion has received in the press, it is often overlooked that the aircraft is built around a payload bay.
The modular payload bay is impressive with great volume, electrical and cooling capacity for a wide variety of payloads/sensors.
One example is the L-3 Wescam MX-25 – now capable of full retraction into the payload bay.
The MX-25 is L-3 Wescam’s largest electro-optical/infrared camera.
For comparison purposes, the US Navy P-8 Poseidon utilizes the slightly smaller L-3 Wescam MX-20.
Aside from great payload flexibility, the Scorpion is night vision capable and both the front and rear cockpits are prepared for use with the Thales Visionix Scorpion Helmet Mounted Cueing System.
Mexican Navy AS365 MBe helicopter, by AIRBUS.
NavyRecognition reports that the Mexican Navy has taken delivery of ten new helicopters. They might look a bit familiar. These are the latest development of the AS365 family of aircraft.
As we have noted, the Mexican Navy parallels the USCG in many ways, including missions and equipment (here and here). They also are in the process of procuring a fleet of patrol craft that are smaller, 42 meters vice 47 meters over all, but closely related to the Coast Guard’s Webber Class cutters.
US Navy Photo. JPALS tactical prototype
The Navy has already chose Joint Precision Approach & Landing Systems (JPALS) and BreakingDefense reports Raytheon is offering it to the Air Force and Army. Perhaps the Coast Guard should take a look. Like the Navy, the Coast Guard operates aircraft from moving ships, with perhaps even more “pitch, roll, surge, sway, heave, yaw, and translation”
JPALS fills the role of a TACAN, giving bearing and range to the landing area, but does it with much greater accuracy, directing the aircraft to a 20 cm (7.8″) square area, using differential GPS. It does it all in any weather and zero visibility with very low probability of intercept and in an encrypted format by data link, minimizing the need for radio communications.
Every time we turn on TACAN we broadcast the position of ship.
Potentially it can provide a autonomous recovery for aircraft and UAVs.
“What’s more, Raytheon is finishing development of a capability for JPALS to take over the flight controls and bring the aircraft in for an automated landing with no input from the pilot – or potentially with no pilot on board at all. That is why the Navy has contracted with Raytheon to put JPALS on its future MQ-25 carrier-based drone.”
Maybe our over-the-horizon boats could use it too.
Bell’s V-280 prototype
The Aviationist brings us pictures of the first prototype for the V-280, one of two contenders for the Army’s “Future Vertical Lift” program to replace the H-60 and other helicopters. We have discussed this program previously as a potential replacement for Coast Guard MH-60s, here (2015) and here (2013).
The competing Sikorsky-Boeing-made SB-1 Defiant coaxial helicopter is expected to fly in 2018.
The V-280’s characteristics reportedly include:
- Speed: 280 KTAS cruise speed
- Combat range: 500-800nm
- Strategically Self-Deployable – 2100nm Range
- Achieves 6k/95 (hover out of ground effect at full load, at 6,000 feet/95 degrees F)
- Non-rotating, fixed engines
- Triple redundant fly-by-wire flight control system
- Conventional, retractable landing gear
- Two 6′ wide large side doors for ease of ingress/egress
- Suitable down wash
- Significantly smaller logistical footprint compared to other aircraft