WELLINGTON, June 11 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Defence Minister Ron Mark announced on Tuesday the selection of the C-130J-30 Super Hercules by United States' Lockheed Martin as the preferred option for the replacement of the aging C-130H aircraft.
The replacement of the five Hercules transport aircraft is the highest priority project within the coalition government's Defence Capability Plan 2019.
New Zealand cabinet has decided to seek detailed costing information for a replacement aircraft, the C-130J-30 Super Hercules.
"The current Hercules have served us well since the 1960s, but they have reached the end of the road, and suitable and proven replacement aircraft will need to be sourced," said the minister. "The current fleet is increasing in cost to maintain, and is taking longer to put through maintenance."
"After considering the range of military air transport aircraft carefully, the Super Hercules has been selected as it offers the necessary range and payload capability as well as fully meeting NZDF's requirements," said the minister.
A price will be sought through the United States' Foreign Military Sale process for the C-130J-30 Super Hercules.
No final contract decision has been made, on either platform numbers, detailed costs, or funding and budget implications. A Project Implementation Business Case is scheduled to be progressed to Cabinet next year, where these matters will be considered.
The Defence Capability Plan 2019 noted that the estimated cost would be more than 1 billion New Zealand dollars (658.6 million U.S. dollars).