Harvest HAWK proves its worth in Afghanistan
By Gareth Jennings
The Lockheed Martin KC-130J Harvest Hercules Airborne Weapons Kit (HAWK) aircraft is now providing the bulk of close air support (CAS) to coalition ground troops in Afghanistan, the company disclosed on 12 November.
The revelation comes about two years after the armed Hercules transport and aerial refuelling aircraft operated by the US Marine Corps (USMC) was first deployed to Afghanistan specifically to provide the service with an organic CAS capability.
"The [CAS] tasking for Harvest HAWK will make your eyes water," Major John Butler, Marine Aerial Refueling Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252) detachment commander in Afghanistan in 2011 to 2012 is reported as saying in a Lockheed Martin blog. "Our launch total was considerably more than marine Harriers, navy Hornets, and even air force A-10s. With only one aircraft, we shot close to half of all the kinetic weapons launched in theatre in the nine months we were there."
The Harvest HAWK mission kit is a modular, roll-on/roll-off weapons system that sees the USMC baseline KC-130J equipped with an offensive air-to-surface capability.172 of 343 words
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