The Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules has won the contest to replace the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) C-130H Hercules, the country’s Defence Minister Ron Mark announced on Monday.
Mark said the government would request detailed pricing for five stretched fuselage C-130J-30 models, the requirement for which was considered the highest priority project in New Zealand’s most recent Defence Capability Plan 2019.
“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,” Mark said in a statement.
“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.”
Japan’s Kawasaki had also confirmed at this year’s Avalon Airshow that it would offer its C-2 transport to New Zealand, while Northrop Grumman and Leonardo said they would jointly offer the C-27J Spartan.
“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,” Mark said.
“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.”
While New Zealand had asked for pricing information for five aircraft, Mark said no final decision has been made on platform numbers.
The country also has a requirement to replace its Boeing 757-200 passenger and freighter aircraft.