Coast Guard HC-130J retrofitted with Minotaur mission package departs L3 Technologies facility in Waco, Texas. Photo: Coast Guard

PARIS AIR SHOWLockheed Martin [LMT] has performed engineering studies on a maritime patrol version of its C-130J aircraft and believes that NATO and Asia/Pacific nations may have an interest in such capabilities, which would include surveillance, anti-surface warfare with such systems as Boeing [BA] AGM-84 Harpoon missiles, and sub-surface warfare with sonobuoys and torpedos.

“The concept is well-received,” said Anthony Frese, Lockheed Martin vice president of business development for air mobility and maritime missions. “If a country has a maritime capability it needs, they can buy new or can convert more of their C-130s.”

Lockheed Martin believes nations could buy between 50 and 100 maritime C-130s.

Such countries could include Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, France, and Germany. France has operated C-130H aircraft since 1987 and is to finish taking delivery of four C-130Js, including two C-130J-30 Super Hercules transport models and two KC-130J aerial tankers this year. Last year, the U.S. State Department approved a $1.4 billion deal for Germany to buy three C-130J and three KC-130J aircraft.

Converting C-130 fleets to maritime versions is “significantly below” the cost of buying new aircraft, such as Boeing P-8 Poseidons, Frese said. The U.S. Navy, Indian Navy, and Royal Australian Air Force operate the P-8, and it is on order for the U.K.’s Royal Air Force, the Royal Norwegian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the Republic of Korea Navy.

The U.S. Coast Guard has 15 HC-130Js for maritime missions and is to have a fleet of 22 such aircraft, which are to include the Navy-developed Minotaur system for integrating multiple sensors and sharing that data.

L3 Technologies [LLL] in integrating the Minotaur system on the HC-130Js.