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

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news