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$250 million investment produces "new" C-130s

$250 million investment produces "new" C-130s

Defence Minister Phil Goff met with senior executives of L3 Spar Aerospace in Edmonton, Canada, today and examined the progress being made in rebuilding the Royal New Zealand Air Force's C-130 Hercules fleet.

Phil Goff is leading a trade mission in Canada and the United States this week and marking the inaugural direct Air New Zealand flight between Auckland and Vancouver.

"The decision to invest $250 million in the life extension and technical upgrade of the C-130 fleet is a critical one," Phil Goff said.

"For more than 40 years the C-130 Hercules have been the workhorses of the RNZAF and Defence Force, They have carried New Zealand forces to places as diverse as the Antarctic, the Pacific, and Afghanistan.

"The upgrading will convert the 1950's technology of the cockpit into Twenty First Century technology.

"More than 50 miles of wiring is being replaced in each C-130, and a major structural upgrade of the wings and fuselage will guarantee the integrity of the aircraft beyond 2017," Mr Goff said.

"In addition, we have made the decision at the same time to provide a new self protection system for the C-130s. That will provide necessary protection against man portable surface to air missiles, essential when operating in environments such as Afghanistan."

"Two C-130s are currently receiving the life-extension upgrade in Edmonton, with the first estimated to return to service in New Zealand by April 2008.

"The upgrade of systems mean the C-130s will now comply with mandatory global air management regulations and will be able to operate worldwide.

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"The upgrade will vastly improve the reliability of the aircraft, reduce downtime for repairs and maintenance, improve safety standards, and ensure interoperability with other military forces and other units within the New Zealand Defence Force."

"I am pleased with the progress being made and look forward to the final three aircraft being upgraded in New Zealand by Safe Air, in partnership with L3 Spar," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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