Royal New Zealand Air Force to get C-130J-30 Super Hercules

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 11, 2019
An artist's impression of a C130J-30 Super Hercules in Royal New Zealand Air Force livery. (New Zealand government)
An artist’s impression of a C130J-30 Super Hercules in Royal New Zealand Air Force livery. (New Zealand government)

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.

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“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.”

The C-130J-30 was up against the Airbus A400M and the Embraer KC-390, including a corporate proposal for a service contract with wet-leased KC-390s.

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.

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“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.

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23 Comments

  • TwinTiger

    says:

    A smart decision, but we wait for the commitment on numbers (1 for 1?).
    These new J’s will continue the great interoperability with the ADF and potentially provide some maintenance offsets.

  • James

    says:

    Absolutely. Best choice they could have made. Really excited to see them enter service. I’ll bet all the RNZAF crew operating and maintaining the H will be wrapped. All they need now is a couple of low houred 767 combis to seal the deal.

  • kerry

    says:

    maybe take 2 of Air NZ 777-200 due to leave service in 2021 / 22 for 757 replacemnet

    • Gordon

      says:

      Maybe 2 787-9s from Air NZ future orders

  • Garth Jamieson

    says:

    A good decision, if they are the stretched version and have fuel tanks suspended from the wings like the USMC C130 Js to give extra range to fly down to McMurdo and return to NZ non stop should the weather prove hazardous to land there. One of the bottom lines. Another one is to able to transport one LAV 3 AFV a decent distance, and hopefully on other occasions have space to carry one NH90 helicopter too.

  • Aziz

    says:

    I’m so happy for RNZAF that it will acquire new military transport aircrafts that serves the Southwest Pacific.
    I also wish New Zealand purchases 10-15 F-15E combat aircraft to counter future Chinese militarism in the south Pacific.

    • Mick C

      says:

      Twin Tiger
      The RNZAF Hercules were actually the very first H model Hercs, delivered in 1964, the USAF was still getting H models in the early 90s. So a huge difference in age.

      • TwinTiger

        says:

        Thanks yes aware of the age difference, my post was intended as ‘tongue-in-cheek’- ggiven my earlier comment.

  • Sam Fulton

    says:

    Predictable option but good to see the C-130J-30 get the nod. Good for the ANZAC interoperability as well. I believe it’s a like for like replacement for the H models. KC-390 was apparently also impressed the RNZAF but didn’t get the nod due to it being such a new aircraft. What does the RNZAF replace the 757s with?

  • Tom

    says:

    Though I think of the KC-390 as the tactical transport of the future, who can fault going with the J as a proven, near iconic performer and interoperability

  • David P Dunn

    says:

    The RNZAF need 10 C130J HERCULES one or two given the commitment the have to have for the South Pacific area and Asian conflicts, The 767 aircraft are a good choice and 6 are needed given the VIP role they are expected Perform. David.

  • Pricey

    says:

    Should have gone for the A400. Can’t fit an NH90 in a Herc and as RNZAF doesn’t have C-17’s there is no way to get its helicopters off shore in a hurry. Herc’s are typical American. A 1950’s design updated over and over and past its use by date (just like the 737 MAX. A Cortina with a Mondeo dashboard). As for “low houred 767’s” I’m not sure such a thing exists and they’re the same anyway. Yesterday’s tech long retired from the regions airlines. A330’s like the RAAF would be a much better choice.

    • James

      says:

      Yeah true. But some KC-30’s to refuel their non existent fighter fleet.

    • TwinTiger

      says:

      The C-130J does not support any inflight refueling for itself, although some nations use C-130’s as a tanker to refuel helicopters from drogue lines off its wings. As a result there the RAAF has reinstalled wing tanks on its ‘J’s and the RNZAF would be mindful to do the same.
      Even though the RNZAF will take on the E-8 Poseidon with a refuel nozzle, the idea of the RNZAF looking at an KC-30A for its replacement 757s seems an major overstretch.

      • James

        says:

        Exactly right. I’m sure they could find some 767’s that are the right airframe hours. Have them converted and even add the new build 767 cockpit to them (same as Fedexs 767’s). I’d imagine there would be a good amount life in the aircraft without the need to spend a great deal of money. Plus with the 300ER they would have quite a significant amount of range compared to a 757.

        At the end of the day it’s up to the NZDF. They’ve chosen platforms pretty well it seems over the last few years. I’d say they’ll do it again.

        • TwinTiger

          says:

          Even if the replacement for the B757 does not include a refueling boom, I’m sure the RNZAF Poseidon pilots can keep their refueling training current with the RAAF tankers.

  • PAUL

    says:

    KC390 can carry more much faster, but too new & unproven, plus not operated by NZ Defence partners. A400M would have been good (NH90 in mind), but it has production problems to the point that France/Germany have bought C130J’s in interim! so C130J it is.. Proven & no risks to a small operator. 40sqn personnel will be pleased! Apparently Lockheed Martin will trade the old C130H’s to be recycled as their parts minus 50yr old Airframes can be used for other H-Model rebuilds for younger airframes. 757 Replacement will be interesting. 2x A330MRTT so P8’s can be refuelled as well? otherwise some good comments & ideas on other platforms such as 767/777 combis, unless KC390 is suitable by 2025? As cant see why a B76 would be much of a Future proof upgrade over a B75 to be in service for 25yrs, when both were produced around same time by Boeing.

    • James

      says:

      The A330 is not that much newer a design. Only by about 10 years. And it’s still based on an even older design in the A300. The KC-30 is just a trumped up A330. Even though the 757 and 767 were produced on the same production line, the 767 is actually still in production. And even in a military guise as the KC-767/KC-46. With commonality with the current fleet, training costs are reduced. The 330 in its current form will hardly be future proofed. The Neo will be around a while but the 350 will knock it off its perch. It’s an interesting one. Intriguing to watch what they do.

    • Phil Jones

      says:

      I was stationed in Singapore 1972-74 when we a C130 arrived it had a engine problem so they sent another one with a spare engine but as things happen she had an engine problem too so they changed their own engine and another C130 was sent up so they could finally get the 3 C130 back to NZ. Shit happens
      I was told that a RNZAF C130 was the first one to get a major refit not too sure if this is correct but they did some big hours flying all round the world. Good plane to fly in

  • PAUL

    says:

    KC46 would be good 757 replacement particularly being able to Refuel the P8’s, a new build 767 much better than second hand if it could be afforded. Exciting times for the next generation RNZAF.

  • mick

    says:

    The RNZAF has operated their C-130H for over 50 years so choosing the new C-130J-30 Super Hercules was a great choice I’m sure this plane will serve them well for the next 50years.

  • James Doherty

    says:

    I would be more comfortable in a venerable C130 than anything else when on short final in the Antarctic.

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