Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


C-130 Hercules upgrade contract signed

Wed, 15 Dec 2004

C-130 Hercules upgrade contract signed
---------------------------------

New Zealand's C-130 Hercules aircraft fleet is about to get a 15-year life extending upgrade with much of the actual conversion work being completed in New Zealand.

The $226 million project contract was signed on Tuesday with suppliers L-3 Communications Spar Airspace. Defence Minister Mark Burton said that this was another significant step in re-equipping all three services of the NZDF.

"Since the 2002 release of the Defence Long-Term Development Plan, 22 major re-equipment projects have been advanced. They include investments in seven new purpose-built naval vessels, a $352 million upgrade of our P-3 Orion fleet, the purchase of two 757-200 jet aircraft to replace our ageing 727s, and the recent acquisition of a new fleet of Light Operational Vehicles.

"Our Hercules fleet is the workhorse of the Air Force, used for a wide range of military airlift tasks and civilian agency requirements. The C-130s provide support to deployed forces, transporting both personnel and/or large freight items. They can operate in conflict areas and on short and poorly prepared airfields. The C-130 fleet also supports counter-terrorism operations undertaken by the Police and the New Zealand Defence Force, as well as providing Antarctic supply flights and support disaster relief missions."

Mark Burton noted that the C-130 life extension and the C-130 communications and navigation equipment would both be upgraded together, with the two projects running in parallel to maximise efficiency and cost effectiveness.

Modification work is scheduled to begin in early 2006 with the first aircraft being modified at L-3 Spar's facility in Edmonton, Canada and the second to fifth aircraft upgraded in Blenheim at Safe Air Ltd. The life extension project will include the replacement of structural components in the wing and aircraft fuselage to manage fatigue, as well as upgrades to the mechanical and electrical systems. The communications and navigation upgrade will ensure the aircraft are interoperable with our Defence and security partners. The upgrades also include ground-based support and training facilities.

"This government has been committed from day one to building a modern, sustainable, well-equipped Defence Force, and this investment in our C-130 fleet is another clear example of that commitment. This major upgrade will extend the life of the aircraft, increase the reliability and availability of the fleet, and improve and modernise the C-130s communications and navigation systems," said Mark Burton.

Questions and answers about the C-130 Hercules

What do the C-130 Hercules do?

The C-130 Hercules are used for a wide range of military airlift tasks and to support civilian agency requirements. They provide support to deployed forces, transporting both personnel and/or large freight items. They can operate in threat areas and on short and poorly prepared airfields. The C-130 fleet supports counter-terrorism operations undertaken by the Police and the New Zealand Defence Force, as well as providing Antarctic supply flights and support disaster relief missions.

Why extend the life of the Hercules?

The C-130 fleet is 38 years old, with obsolete systems that are becoming difficult to support. Some of the structural elements, primarily in the wings, are approaching the end of their working lives. All these issues have at times had an impact on the aircrafts' availability and operational readiness. In 2001 Defence contracted independent contractor Marshalls of Cambridge Aerospace to conduct a Life-of-Type Study (LOTS) on the feasibility and cost of upgrading the C-130 fleet to extend its service life and improve availability and reliability. The LOTS concluded that a 15-year life extension was feasible, for a reasonable cost, and would significantly improve the availability and reliability of the fleet.

What does the project include?

It is a combination of two projects on the "Defence Long-Term Development Plan" (LTDP): the C-130 Life Extension and the C-130 Communications and Navigation Systems Upgrade. These two projects are closely related and are being completed together to maximise efficiency and reduce project complexity, risk, and cost.

The project comprises:

· Fatigue improvement modification: A number of structural components in the wing and aircraft fuselage will be replaced. In addition, other modifications will improve the ability to manage structural fatigue.

· Mechanical and electrical systems upgrade: Reliability improvement modifications will be carried out to the Hercules electrical system, auxiliary power unit, environmental control unit, and engines.

· Communications: Existing internal communications, radio, and encryption equipment will be replaced with modern digital systems that transfer voice and data.

· Flight deck digitisation: Modern digital navigation equipment will be installed to meet future changes to air traffic management regulations, and

· Flight deck trainer: This will provide a ground training facility for the flight deck crew, and will significantly enhance the level of preparedness and improve crew availability.

What is the timeframe for the upgrade?

Upgrading the Hercules is a complex process. The design, development, installation, testing and certification of the prototype aircraft will take nearly three years.

Modification work on the first aircraft will commence in early 2006, with delivery scheduled for late 2007. The first aircraft will be modified at L-3 Spar's facility in Edmonton, Canada. The second to fifth aircraft will be upgraded in Blenheim at Safe Air Ltd. The fifth aircraft is scheduled for completion in 2010.

What will be the implications of having aircraft out of service?

Sufficient aircraft will be available to meet essential task requirements.

Is there any commonality with the Orion Upgrade?

Although the communications and navigations systems will be upgraded on both the Orion and C-130 Hercules, the nature of the upgrades has limited the opportunity for common equipment. Where possible, however, common equipment has been selected for both aircraft.

What will the C-130 project cost?

The cost of the project (the life extension and communications & navigation upgrade) approved by Cabinet is NZ$226 million. This is well within the budgeted figure in the Defence Long Term Development Plan.

Will the upgraded Hercules be interoperable with our security partners?

Yes. The upgraded communications and navigation systems will ensure that the aircraft are interoperable with our security partners.

What jobs will the project create for New Zealand Industry?

L-3 Spar Aerospace intends to make extensive use of Safe Air Limited for upgrades on the second to fifth aircraft. Safe Air Ltd is also involved in the P3 Systems Upgrade project.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And
Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the Resource Management Act.

Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing, which happens to be another of the government’s most contentious, most ideologically-driven policy packages. Presumably, Key will be trying not to double down on the rhetoric, and thereby leave room for Labour leader Andrew Little to sound like the centrist voice of reason.

Key will have his work cut out, though. More>>

 

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads. This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD. More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Similarities Between John Key And David Cameron

For years now, David Cameron has been the closest available thing to a mentor/analogue to our Prime Minister, such that Key watchers could be interested in an analysis of Cameron that appeared in the British press over the Christmas break. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Ian Fletcher Resignation & GCSB’s New Role

It may well be that after being shoulder-tapped in Queensland for the GCSB job, three years of living in Wellington has been enough for Fletcher and his family, given that the pending review of the GCSB would have required an even longer commitment from him. Three years of Wellington’s weather is enough for anyone... More>>

ALSO:

Ian Apperley: $10m Or $100m For New Wellington Council IT System?

I feel a Tui Billboard coming on. I commented the other day that it looked like the Council’s Ninth big project was a potential $100 million plus... The Mayor has responded: “I am reassured by the Chief Executive and by Anthony Wilson that the proposed budget is in the region of $10 million.” More>>

ALSO:

Southern Ocean:
Navy Intercepts Illegal Fishing Vessels

Foreign Minister Murray McCully today put illegal fishing vessels operating in the Southern Ocean on notice and vowed to take action against their owners. “As part of a multi-agency operation, the HMNZS WELLINGTON has intercepted two vessels claiming to be flagged to Equatorial Guinea, fishing illegally in the Southern Ocean.” Mr McCully says. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news