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Air Force Boeing completes test flights

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence

26 June 2008

Air Force Boeing completes test flights

The Royal New Zealand Air Force has undertaken a number of successful test flights of one of its Boeing 757 aircraft, which is currently undertaking a significant upgrade in the United States state of Alabama, Defence Minister Phil Goff said today.

“The successful test flights represent a key milestone before the aircraft can be accepted by the Ministry of Defence and RNZAF and returned to New Zealand for operational testing and evaluation,” Phil Goff said.

“The RNZAF’s two modified 757s are designed to provide much greater flexibility than previously, including additional strategic airlift capability to deploy New Zealand troops to overseas missions and evacuate New Zealand citizens.

“They have greater range and payload capacity than the 727s they replaced and allow the Air Force to rapidly alter the aircraft configuration between standard passenger configuration, a freight-passenger combination, full freight, Aero Medical Evacuation (AME) and for VIP transport.

“The RNZAF expects to have the first aircraft signed over to the Ministry of Defence and then returned to New Zealand within the next two months, and the second aircraft about two months later. Both modified aircraft are expected to be fully operational from early 2009,” Mr Goff said.

The Ministry of Defence purchased the two B757-200 aircraft as replacement aircraft for the RNZAF’s two ageing Boeing 727-100 QC airframes.

The budget for the aircraft purchase and modification was NZ$221 million, with the modification phase at NZ$112.3 million. The aircraft were introduced to service with the RNZAF in early May 2003.

The life extension upgrade and modification is taking place at Mobile Aerospace Engineering in Mobile. Modifications include increasing freight capability, engine enhancements and upgraded communications and navigation equipment.


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