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USMC KC-130J Being Fitted With HAWK Sensors and Precision Strike Capabilities

USMC KC-130J 1 photo
Photo: Sierra Nevada Corporation
When the name KC-130J comes into the spotlight, the last thing one thinks about is strike capability. After all, the Lockheed Martin flying machine, especially in this configuration, is mainly used for aerial refueling and transport and not necessarily combat.
But this reality doesn’t stop the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) from thinking a bit more offensively, as there are times when every single piece of hardware needs to be used offensively. Back in May, for instance, the military branch announced its entire fleet of KC-130J (about 79 airplanes) would be getting some serious upgrades.

More specifically, the Corps opted to have the Hercules Airborne Weapons Kit (HAWK) installed on the airplanes. This operation which will be handled for at least two of these planes, under a $1.6 million contract, by the Sierra Nevada Corporation.

HAWK is a system that comprises a fire-control console for the cargo compartment of the plane, a multitude of sensors and cameras for imagery and reconnaissance, but also a weapons kit that gives the airplanes offensive capabilities. This kit comes with things like a Griffin launcher and Hellfire missiles.

According to a report by the U.S. Naval Institute back in May, the USMC is planning to fit these HAWK systems on both the entire KC-130J fleet and the branch's variants of Osprey tiltrotor vehicles.

The KC-130J is the airplane of choice for the transport and refueling of the Marine Corps. In recent years, it was extensively used and proved incredibly valuable in operations in Iraq, where it was used for over 20,000 hours of flight time.

Based on the C-130J Super Hercules, the airplane can carry a maximum load of 47,900 lbs (22 metric tons), and can keep flying for close to 5,000 miles (7,900 km) on a single outing, provided it is equipped with external fuel tanks.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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