Lockheed HC-130 B/H/J “Hercules”
The C-130s have proven to be ideal for the Coast Guard mission. The first airplanes delivered to the Coast Guard were C-130Bs. In 1966 the USCG received another version of the HERCULES, a specially configured EC-130E equipped with calibration equipment for the service’s far-flung LORAN stations. In the late sixties and early seventies, the Coast Guard began equipping with the HC-130H, soon after the same version went into service with the USAF. This updated version was obtained to primarily perform search and rescue missions.
C-130J aircraft were obtained in 2004 for a logistic support role. They had an enhanced cargo handling system that allowed for rapid conversion from in-floor load tie-downs to rollers for palletized cargo. In 2008 they were upgraded with interoperable mission packages equipping them to function as very effective search and rescue aircraft.
HC-130s can exceed 2,600 nautical miles (4,815km) in low-altitude flight with a mission endurance of up to 14 hours. Inertial Navigation Systems (INS), Omega, Loran-C, Global Positioning System (GPS), radar and guidance aids all enhance the HC-130’s effectiveness during long-range maritime patrols.
U.S. Coast Guard HC-130s are not capable of refueling other aircraft in flight.