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Royal New Zealand Air Force’s First Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules Emerges from Paint Shop

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Royal New Zealand Air Force’s First Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules Emerges from Paint Shop

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Royal New Zealand Air Force’s First Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules Emerges from Paint Shop
Royal New Zealand Air Force’s First Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules Emerges from Paint Shop

The project to replace the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s Hercules fleet has marked a significant milestone, with the first C-130J Super Hercules aircraft completing its paint job. The second C-130J aircraft is currently having its engines fitted and will shortly head to the paint shop at Lockheed Martin’s factory in Georgia, USA. Five new aircraft are on track for delivery from next year to replace the C-130H (NZ), which were purchased in 1965. The new aircraft will be able carry more cargo, due to their additional 4.5 metre length and payload capacity of 21 tonnes. With a 15 tonne payload, they will also be able to travel 2400 nautical miles, compared to the current 1800 nautical miles.

“It took 14 painters two days to apply 238 litres of paint on the 11.85 metre high aircraft, using ladders and scaffolding. Royal New Zealand Air Force markings will be applied in the coming months, including the RNZAF Kiwi roundel and Number 40 Squadron’s mariner’s compass,” says Andrew Rooney, Project Team Lead at the Ministry of Defence.

It took 14 painters two days to apply about 63 gallons (238 liters) of paint to New Zealand’s first C-130J-30 aircraft. Five new aircraft are on track for delivery to the Royal New Zealand Air Force  next year.
It took 14 painters two days to apply about 63 gallons (238 liters) of paint to New Zealand Defence Force’s first C-130J-30 aircraft. Five new aircraft are on track for delivery to the Royal New Zealand Air Force next year.(Photo by New Zealand Defence Force)

The fleet will be used by NZDF as a first response option, for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, and deployment of personnel and equipment both within New Zealand and overseas. The first three crews of Number 40 Squadron are now fully-trained and certified to fly the C-130J aircraft. A number of the aviators and maintenance personnel have just completed an exercise in Hawaii, where they were embedded with the US Air Force 19th Airlift Wing. The construction of the full motion flight simulator continues in the United States, with testing now underway. Back home in New Zealand at RNZAF Base Auckland, work on the building that will house the simulator is well underway, with the roof to be added early next year.

TheLockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is the newest version of the C-130 Hercules, and the only model currently in production. In June 2019, New Zealand’s Minister of Defence Ron Mark identified the C-130J-30 as the preferred replacement for the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s five remaining C-130Hs that are planned to be in service until 2023. In November 2019 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the potential sale of five C-130Js, 24 engines and related equipment for an estimated cost of US$1.4 billion (~$1.59 billion in 2022).[84] The sale was confirmed in June 2020. New Zealand will take delivery of the first of the new C-130J-30 aircraft in 2024 with the full fleet operating by 2025. The price tag of 1.5 billion New Zealand dollars (nearly U.S. $1 billion) includes a flight simulator and supporting infrastructure.

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