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First New Zealand C-130J Hercules Takes Flight

The first New Zealand C-130J Hercules to come off the production line in the United States has successfully completed its first test flights, Defence Minister Judith Collins announced today.

“These successful flights are a significant milestone for the New Zealand Defence Force, bringing this once-in-a-generation renewal of a critical airlift capability a step closer,” Ms Collins says.

The aircraft, which will be one of a fleet of five, took to the skies for 246 minutes over Georgia and Alabama, reaching 10,500 feet and flying 984km.

“The Hercules C-130J is faster, flies further and holds more cargo than its predecessor, the C-130H. It is versatile, powerful and reliable, which is just what the hard-working men and women of the New Zealand Defence Force need for their challenging work in often-difficult conditions.

“The existing New Zealand C-130H fleet has been an essential first line of response for the NZDF for more than 50 years, carrying troops, equipment and life-saving aid here, in the Pacific and throughout the world,” Ms Collins says.

“The Hercules ensure we are interoperable with our key partners, including our ally, Australia, and the United States, Canada, Germany and France. In an increasingly complex geopolitical environment, it is hugely important that we can work with international partners in a collaborative way on international operations and joint training exercises and engagements.”

The new fleet of C-130J Hercules will start arriving later this year and, like their predecessors, will be based at RNZAF Base Auckland and be operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s No. 40 Squadron.

The C-130J Hercules have a 40.41m wingspan, are 34.4m long, have a top speed of 330 knots and can carry a maximum of 21 tonnes.

You can watch a video of the Hercules C-130J’s first test flights here:

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