The US Marine Corps (USMC) has received the new KC-130J aircraft equipped with the Block 8.1 updated cockpit.

The aircraft is also fitted with AN/AAQ-24 DoN large aircraft infrared countermeasure (DoN LAIRCM) and other upgrades.

The latest upgrades to the aircraft address the obsolescence issues and enhance its survivability.

PMA-207 programme manager Navy captain Steve Nassau said: “Both these systems increase the aircraft’s combat effectiveness to perform the KC-130J core mission essential tasking.

“The KC-130J is a global workhorse, and the Block 8.1 upgrade clears the path for the aircraft to have world-wide access, while the DoN LAIRCM allows the aircraft to operate under expanded threat environments.”

The Block 8.1 cockpit upgrade comprises a new flight management system that complies with communications, navigation, surveillance (CNS) and air traffic management (ATM) mandates.

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It also boasts enhanced global positioning system (GPS) capabilities, improved communications systems, as well as improvements to the KC-130J’s friend-or-foe identification technology.

DoN LAIRCM is a laser-based self-protection system. It is designed to defend against surface-to-air infrared (IR) missile threats, increases survivability of the aircraft and aircrew during an airborne attack.

PMA-207 KC-130J integrated product team lead Joanna Sockoloskie said: “Our team has worked hard to make sure the Marine Corps is ready to utilise and support this aircraft.

“We have been involved from the start and it is our mission to ensure our Marines have the latest and finest equipment available.”

Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the KC-130J is a multi-role, medium-sized fixed-wing aerial refuelling aircraft designed primarily for the USMC.

According to US Navy, the aircraft will become part of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 252 at MCAS Cherry Point in North Carolina.

The USMC will receive the remaining 26 aircraft in the coming five years.