The Harvest HAWK upgrade modifications “include
full-motion video and beyond-line-of-sight communications, a software upgrade to incorporate more capable Hellfire missiles, and the full integration of Harvest
HAWK systems into an all-encompassing battle-management system,” Sconfietti said.
The HQMC official said the AAQ- 30 Target Sight
System, mounted on the aircraft’s left external refueling
pod, would be replaced by the Wescam MX-20D electro-optical/infrared sensor that would be installed under
the chin of the aircraft.
Sconfietti said that mounting the sensor turret
under the chin “provides the ability to regain about
18,000 pounds of fuel, and prevents angle of bank
The fire-control officer’s operator station in the
upgraded system would be more user-friendly, The
HQMC official said, noting the time required to install
a Harvest HAWK kit would be reduced from two days
to eight hours.
“The upgrades and modifications not only will
increase the situational awareness and airborne endur-
ance for the MAGTF commander, but are keeping with
the deputy commandant for Aviation’s priorities of
maximizing readiness and digital interoperability while
sustaining our primary mission of tactical air-to-air
refueling and logistical support,” Sconfietti said.
“Legacy Harvest HAWK is the only KC-130J modification effort that made use of RDT&E [research,
development, test and evaluation] funding,” the HQMC
official said. “$37.8 million of RDT&E funding was
executed in prior years with no additional funding
throughout the FYDP [Future Years Defense Program].
Modification appropriations were used for aircraft kits
and installation for Harvest HAWK, and also is the
funding source to integrate and test the new [Harvest
HAWK Upgrade] program configuration.
The Harvest HAWK Upgrade program, funded in
the FYDP, is in Developmental Test at Naval Air Station
Patuxent River, Md., the official said. Operational Test
is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2017. Initial
operational capability is planned for the second quarter
of 2018, with full operational capability scheduled for
the fourth quarter of that year. n