The Wellington government has gone on the record and announced that they want to buy Lockheed Martin C-130J aircraft to replace their existing fleet of five C-130H aircraft.
Other parts of the information shows that new build aircraft are likely, considering they are going to be purchased through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system, where the US government buys from the manufacturer and then resells to the final customer.
Both Airbus’s A400M and the Embrear KC-390 were offered to New Zealand to meet their future airlift requirements however it is obvious why the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) wanted to remain on the C-130 platform. The A400M is much more expensive and neither have the proven combat capability the venerable Hercules has.
Talking, Defence Minister Ron Clarke said, “The current Hercules have served us well since the 1960s, but they have reached the end of the road, and suitable and proven replacement aircraft will need to be sourced”.
“The current fleet is increasing in cost to maintain, and is taking longer to put through maintenance. 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.”
Over 2,500 C-130s have been built until now, with the type set to remain in production for years to come, easily making it the most successful postwar transport aircraft.
Nick Ashwell-Rice has worked in aviation and defence journalism since 2014 whilst also maintaining a career outside of the industry. He has been Editor-in-Chief at Talking Aero since its inception