US approves sale of  Hercules for RNZAF

The US State Department has approved a Foreign Military Sale to New Zealand of five C-130J Hercules aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $US1.4 billion.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency has delivered the required certification notifying Congress.  Significantly, the US has described NZ as a “major ally”.

New Zealand has asked for five aircraft, 24 Rolls Royce AE-2100D3 turboprop engines (20 installed, 4 spares) along with navigation and electronic systems, personnel training and training equipment, US Govt and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

The US says this will support its foreign policy and national security 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.

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 provide the capability to support national, United Nations, and other coalition operations.  This purchase also includes sensors and performance improvements that will assist NZ during extensive maritime surveillance and reconnaissance as well as improve its search and rescue capability.

For good measure, the extra cargo capacity and aircraft performance will greatly increase New Zealand’s Antarctic mission capabilities while simultaneously increasing safety margins.

The RNZAF currently flies five 50-year-old C-l30H aircraft and will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and support into its armed forces according to the State Department. The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin, Ft Worth, Texas

3 thoughts on “US approves sale of  Hercules for RNZAF

  1. It would be interesting to fine out what the Capital Charge costs for these well overdue Hec replacements?

    And I still think they are a couple of airframes short as well as they current Hec’s have been flog like a dead horse since the Andover’s were retired by the “No Mates Party” in the early to mid 90’s without replacement.

    A smaller fixed wing tactical airlifter would’ve been very handy during the Kaikōura earthquakes as it would’ve been able to fly in and out of the local Kaikōura airstrip as modern military logistics does operate on a Hub and spoke model regardless of the type operations aka Chap7 to HADR op’s etc, etc.


    1. Agree that not enough airframes have been acquired. My thoughts are that eight would be about right. I actually don’t believe that we require battlefield airlifters because most of our tactical airlifting is beyond their efficient payload range: > 1,000 nm. Anything < than say 300 nm we can do with NH90 if small load or C130J can't get in.


      1. From memory and from what I’ve been told by relatives who served in 1SQN and 42SQN, was that Andover’s self deployed with a FAK (Fly Away Kit) and sometimes extra RORO fuel tanks to where they were needed with the Hec’s and/ or B727’s bringing in freight and or personal to central POE/ APOD for onward deployment via the Andover.

        It work wonders throughout the SthPac quite successfully especially to those islands that had old unused WW2 airstrips that a Hec couldn’t use for whatever reason and this capability was sadly missed during INTERFET when NZDF was based at Suia as the Andover’s could’ve done the Darwin to Suia run quite easily.

        This would’ve ease the supply/ support issues during the NZDF deployment at the time, instead of relying on the Hec Flights which while too few to maintain the NZ battalion battle group, plus its Air Support Group and the private sector flights who charged an arm and leg to fly into the NZDF.

        The RAAF self deploy its Boo’s to Dili at the time with its main body following up 24- 72hrs later to sustain a flight of 3 or 4 Boo’s from memory.

        Unless RNZAF gets the A400 (don’t touch the USAF C17’s as they have been flog like a dead horse since 9/11) to move its NH90’s quickly, then the NH90”s will be Shipped which could mean they would be 5-7 sailing days away.


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