The Government of New Zealand has announced the selection of the Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules to replace the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) fleet of ageing C-130H(NZ) aircraft.
The new transport aircraft will be inducted in 2023/24 said New Zealand’s Defence Minister Ron Mark. “After considering the range of military air transport aircraft carefully, the Super Hercules has been selected as it offers the necessary range and payload capability as well as fully meeting NZDF’s requirements,” Mark said.
The replacement of the RNZAF’s five Hercules transport aircraft has been accorded the highest priority by the Government and New Zealand will now seek detailed costing information for its C-130J-30 Super Hercules buy. The C-130J-30 Super Hercules will be able to carry a greater payload faster and further than the current C-130H(NZ) fleet.
“Lockheed Martin is excited to welcome New Zealand to the C-130J Super Hercules family. As a legacy C-130 operator, the New Zealand Ministry of Defence knows the capability and versatility found only in a C-130. We stand ready to support New Zealand in meeting its tactical airlift needs,” a Lockheed Martin spokesperson informed Asian Defence Technology.
The aircraft will be acquired via the United States’ Foreign Military Sale (FMS) process and as per New Zealand’s Defence Capability Plan 2019, the cost of the acquisition is estimated at more than $1 billion.
The RNZAF’s current Hercules fleet has been in service since the 1960’s and are now becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and require more maintenance hours.
The RNZAF’s C-130 fleet is used to perform strategic and tactical air transport missions, such as deployment and transportation of personnel and equipment, support to NZDF exercises, aeromedical evacuation, to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 425 C-130J aircraft till date to operators from 20 countries around the globe.
List of Super Hercules Operators
- South Korea
- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- United Kingdom