Lockheed Martin [LMT] has delivered the first Senior Scout signals intelligence system configured for the C-130J to the Air Force, the company said yesterday.

The first of four Senior Scout systems for the C-130J will be loaded onto a plane for testing in the next week and is expected to be operationally ready in early 2012, said Tom Boyce, the company’s program manager for airborne collection and exploitation systems.

Senior Scout is part of Lockheed Martin’s Dragon family of intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) systems and has been deployed on earlier versions of the C-130 Hercules for more than two decades.

The massive Senior Scout system is fitted into a trailer-like container and rolled onto the cargo plane to give it an information collecting capability. The latest version required “substantial” modifications to meet the specifications for operating on the C-130J, Boyce said.

The latest model of Senior Scout is also designed to be retrofitted onto older C-130Es and C-130Hs.

Lockheed Martin is under contract to deliver two more of the systems in 2013 and a fourth the following year.