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Successful test flights for Air Force C-130

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence

16 July 2008

Successful test flights for Air Force C-130 Hercules

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The first of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s upgraded C-130 Hercules has completed a series of successful test flights, Defence Minister Phil Goff said today.

The C-130 is one of two being upgraded at the L-3 Communications Spar Aerospace facilities in Edmonton, Canada.The upgrade includes centre wing refurbishment, a major rewire and modernisation of the aircraft’s communication, navigation and self-protection systems.

“The test flights during the last few days are a key delivery milestone prior to the aircraft being accepted by the Ministry of Defence and RNZAF and returned to New Zealand for operational testing and evaluation,” Phil Goff said.

“The modifications will significantly improve the availability and reliability of the RNZAF Hercules fleet. The upgrade will extend the life of the aircraft by around 15 years.

“The budget for the aircraft upgrades was set at $233 million, which is a reduction of $18.3 million on early estimates. Despite delays caused by technical difficulties the cost is significantly less than anticipated,” Phil Goff said.

The upgrade commenced in 2005 and is part of the C-130 Life Extension Project which will extend the operational capability of the Air Force’s fleet of five Hercules until 2017. The remaining three of the Air Force’s fleet of Hercules will be upgraded by Safe Air Limited, based in Blenheim.

The first Hercules is scheduled to be handed over the NZDF by October, subject to the successful completion of remaining test flights.


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