New Zealand Defence Minister Ron Mark has announced the selection of the C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical airlifter as the preferred option for the replacement of the aging C-130H Hercules aircraft fleet.
“The replacement of the five Hercules transport aircraft is the highest priority project within the Coalition Government’s Defence Capability Plan 2019, Cabinet has decided to seek detailed costing information for a replacement aircraft, the C-130J-30 Super Hercules”, said a statement released by the government.
Five C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft, manufactured by American company Lockheed Martin, will be sought through the United States’ Foreign Military Sale (FMS) process.
“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,” says Ron Mark. ”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,” says Ron Mark.
No final contract decision has been made, on either platform numbers, detailed costs, or funding and Budget implications. A Project Implementation Business Case is scheduled to be progressed to Cabinet next year, where these matters will be considered. The Defence Capability Plan 2019 noted that the estimated cost of the procurement would be more than $1 billion.
The C-130J Super Hercules is a comprehensive update of the legacy C-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft, developed by American company, Lockheed Martin. The new aircraft has new engines, flight deck, and other systems.
The C-130J is a proven aircraft, with more than 400 C-130Js having been delivered to over 21 nations, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.