US Marines order additional KC-130J Harvest HAWK kits

Washington DC
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The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) recently awarded Lockheed Martin an $18.4 million fixed-price contract to build three additional Harvest Hercules airborne weapons kits (HAWK) for the US Marine Corps' KC-130J fleet.

The addition of the Harvest HAWK roll-on/roll-off kit turns a normal Lockheed KC-130J tanker-transport into a gunship and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform.

 

 ©USMC

According to NAVAIR, the current Harvest HAWK kits, which are deployed to Afghanistan, include a fire-control console in the aircraft's cargo compartment and a Lockheed AN/AAQ-30 infrared and electro-optical camera mounted in a modified left-side under-wing fuel tank.

The right-side pylon can either carry the normal air-to-air refueling pod, or it can carry a launcher for four Lockheed AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. The kit also provides for the Hercules to launch precision-guided munitions such as the Raytheon AGM-175 Griffin or MBDA GBU-44/B Viper Strike missiles from the aircraft's cargo ramp.

The 14 May contract award is part of a second batch of Harvest HAWK kits that the service is buying. The USMC had earlier accepted three such kits.

With the awarding of this latest contract, the service expects delivery of three additional Harvest HAWK kits in Fiscal 2013 and FY2014.

Additionally, the contract calls for the modification of seven KC-130Js so that that aircraft can accept the roll-on/roll-off kits. Previously, three aircraft have been so modified, Lockheed says.

Future Harvest HAWK work will include sustainment, correcting deficiencies found in the field, and obsolescence avoidance, NAVAIR says. Each Harvest HAWK kit costs about $9 million, the service says.