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First new RNZAF Hercules rolls off the production line

written by Robert Dougherty | February 16, 2024

The first of the Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130J-30 Hercules to come off the Lockheed Martin production line in Georgia, USA. (Image: RNZAF)

The Royal New Zealand Air Force’s first C-130J-30 Hercules transport aircraft has rolled off the production line in its official livery.

The aircraft now features the RNZAF Kiwi Roundel and No. 40 Squadron’s mariner’s compass, after finishing work at the Lockheed Martin production line in Georgia, United States, according to a public statement on 15 February.

Five new aircraft are on track for delivery to the RNZAF later this year to replace the C-130H (NZ) Hercules aircraft, originally purchased in 1965.

“(The new RNZAF C-130J-30 Hercules) aircraft can carry a greater number of pallets, due to their additional 4.5-metre length and payload capacity of 21 tonnes,” according to the RNZAF.

“The new fleet will be used as a first response option for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, as well as deployment of personnel and equipment both within New Zealand and overseas.


“The second Hercules in the fleet is not far behind, ready for its full-body paint job.”

Lockheed Martin is expected to complete delivery by September 2025.

The New Zealand government previously signed a $1.5 billion deal in 2020 for five new C-130J-30 Super Hercules planes, designed to operate from short or unprepared airstrips.

“The proposed sale will improve New Zealand’s capability to meet current and future threats by enhancing its current airlift capability.”

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a major ally that is a force for political stability, and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region,” according to a statement published by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency in 2019 regarding the foreign military sale.

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