June 11, 2019 (by Hon Ron Mark) - Defence Minister Ron Mark has announced the selection of the C-130J-30 Super Hercules as the preferred option for the replacement of the aging C-130H aircraft.
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.
“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.
A price will be sought through the United States’ Foreign Military Sale process for the C-130J-30 Super Hercules, manufactured by Lockheed Martin.
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.
“It is used by key defence partners and carries a greater payload faster and further than the current fleet, with no loss of ability to land where our current Hercules are deployed.
“Tactical air transport capability is one of the highest value assets available to New Zealand, offering huge utility to the community and nation, enabling movement of personnel and cargo around the country, the South Pacific, down to Antarctica and all around the globe.
“We need a proven performer, and this aircraft is tried and tested. We cannot take risks with what is one of our most critical military capabilities,” 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 would be more than $1 billion.