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RNZAF Hercules Shows Muscles During Test Flights

16 July 2008

RNZAF Hercules Shows Muscles During Test Flights

Following the recent test flights of the newly modified Boeing 757, the first of the Royal New Zealand Air Force's upgraded C-130 Hercules has completed a series of successful test flights at L-3 Communications Spar Aerospace facilities in Edmonton, Canada.

The upgrade, described by contractor L-3 Communications Spar Aerospace as the most comprehensive modernisation project ever undertaken on a C-130 worldwide, included centre wing refurbishment, a major rewire, replacement of the aircraft's communication and navigation systems with more modern systems and an upgrade to the C-130 self-protection system.

"The new aircraft will enhance our ability to operate with aircraft from other nations and decrease the workload of the crew in operational environments. By design, it should also make the aircraft easier to maintain and improve reliability," said RNZAF C-130 test pilot Squadron Leader Pete Saunders.

"There will be 86 hours of Acceptance Test flying which involves taking the new systems through their paces to confirm compliance. This will be followed up at home with further testing to ensure suitability during Operational Test and Evaluation," said Squadron Leader Saunders.

Two of the Air Force's fleet of five Hercules are being upgraded by L-3 Communications Spar Aerospace. The remaining three Hercules will be upgraded by Safe Air Limited, based in Blenheim.

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.


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