Super Hercules would breathe new life into New Zealand Defence Force operations, says GlobalData

Following the news that the New Zealand confirmed the purchase of five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules for its air force for NZ$1.521m (US$986m);

Mathew George, Ph.D., Aerospace & Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“The Defence Capability Plan of 2019 had estimated the replacement costs to be above NZ$1bn (US$659m) when New Zealand had announced last year of its intention to replace its fleet of 5 C-130H (NZ) aircraft with new C-130J-30 aircraft via the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route being a ‘tried and tested’ aircraft. This was eventually approved by the US Congress in November 2019. The present announcement confirms the acceptance of the terms by New Zealand government and moves the entire process closer to completion with the first aircraft expected in 2024 with a full fleet by 2025 and the staggered retirement of the older aircraft.

“While the announcement expands on the earlier list of items to also include a full mission flight simulator, the other materials included are 24 Rolls Royce AE-2100D3 turboprop engines (20 installed, 4 spares), several types on Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) and associated systems, Missile Warning Systems (MWS) and associated receivers, radars, countermeasures dispensing systems, flairs, decoys, six MX-20HD Electro-Optical/Infrared Imaging System, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, the US Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

“New Zealand chose to follow the FMS route to ensure reduction of costs and commonality and interoperability of platforms with its partners across the world in joint operations and to benefit from the reduction of costs when compared to a bespoke solution. It’s the same benefits it is hoping to witness with NH90 upgrade program. New Zealand has prioritized the replacement of these tactical units over options for the B757, which have seen multiple instances of breakdowns, but it only makes sense as the B757s task is VIP movement and alternatives are present.

“The approach by New Zealand is away from the indigenization seen elsewhere. But New Zealand has always been reserved in their assessment of security threats and the measured response they need to develop to counter these. These international arms programs fit well with their cooperative development and the need to reduce costs through collaboration than competition.”

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