First New Zealand C-130J Hercules painted

New Zealand’s first C-30J Hercules aircraft has been painted, marking a significant milestone in the project to replace the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) Hercules fleet.

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08 DECEMBER, 2023

Five new aircraft are on track for delivery from next year to replace the C-30H (NZ) Hercules, which were purchased in 1965.

“It took 14 painters two days to apply 238 litres of paint on the 11.85 metre high aircraft, using ladders and scaffolding. RNZAF markings will be applied in the coming months, including the RNZAF Kiwi roundel and No. 40 Squadron’s mariner’s compass,” says Andrew Rooney, Project Team Lead at the Ministry of Defence.

The second C-130J aircraft is currently having its engines fitted and will shortly head to the paint shop at Lockheed Martin’s factory in Georgia, US.

The new aircraft will be able carry more cargo, due to their additional 4.5 metre length and payload capacity of 21 tonnes. With a 15 tonne payload, they will also be able to travel 2400 nautical miles, compared to the current 1800 nautical miles.

The fleet will be used by New Zealand Defence Force as a first response option, for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, and deployment of personnel and equipment both within New Zealand and overseas.

The first three crews of No. 40 Squadron are now fully-trained and certified to fly the C-130J aircraft. A number of the aviators and maintenance personnel have just completed an exercise in Hawaii, where they were embedded with the US Air Force 19th Airlift Wing.

The construction of the full motion flight simulator continues in the United States, with testing now underway. Back home in New Zealand at RNZAF Base Auckland, work on the building that will house the simulator is well underway, with the roof to be added early next year.

Read more about the C-130J project here

C-130J Specifications

  • Wing span: 40.41m
  • Height: 11.85m
  • Length: 34.4m
  • Speed: 330kts
  • Payload: 21 tonnes
  • Passengers: 128

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