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Air Force Welcomes First Boeing 757


Air Force Welcomes First Boeing 757

The Air Force takes an important step toward a modern air transport capability with the arrival of the first of two Boeing 757 aircraft at Wellington on Wednesday May 7 at 11:30am.

The aircraft and crew will be welcomed by the Minister of Defence, Hon Mark Burton; the Secretary of Defence, Mr Graham Fortune; Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Bruce Ferguson and Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal John Hamilton during a brief arrival ceremony.

“The Air Force is delighted with the arrival of the first B757 today,” said Air Vice-Marshal John Hamilton. “Strategic air transport is a critical enabler for a range of military and Government tasks. Hardly any NZ Defence Force deployment proceeds without an Air Force transport aircraft being involved, and many Government tasks rely on this capability.”

The B757 aircraft will replace the Air Force’s aging B727s in the strategic air transport role, and will join the five C-130H Hercules operated by No.40 Squadron based at Whenuapai in Auckland. Following formal Operational Test and Evaluation procedures, and further air and ground crew training at Whenuapai, the first B757 is expected to become available for tasking in June 2003. The second B757 is expected to arrive in New Zealand early June 2003.

Air Vice-Marshal Hamilton advised that, “Both aircraft will undergo modifications next year to allow the carriage of cargo and passengers, completing a project that will result in an improved service to those who depend on our Air Force aircraft.”

No.40 Squadron performs a variety of tasks in the strategic and tactical air transport roles, flying regularly throughout the South Pacific, South East Asia and Australia, as well as to the United Kingdom, Middle East and US. Crews maintain proficiency in the tactical role using the C-130’s manoeuvrability, power and short takeoff and landing capabilities to fulfil tactical tasks.

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