The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to New Zealand of five C-130J Hercules and related equipment for an estimated cost of $1.4 billion. The deal would also include 24 Rolls-Royce AE-2100D3 turboprop engines (20 installed, four spares), Multi-Information Distribution System (MIDS)/Link-16 Low Video Terminals , AN/AAQ-24(V)N LAIRCM (Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures) systems, AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning Systems (MWS); and MX-20HD ElectroOptical/Infrared Imaging systems among other equipment, support and training.
The aircraft would replace five C-130H models that first entered service with the RNZAF’s 40 Sqn from 1965. The aircraft were updated in the 2000s, but are reaching the end of their useful life. Although not stated in the State Department release, the new Hercules will be stretched C-130J-30 models and are likely to be fitted with underwing auxiliary fuel tanks. The addition of MX-20 systems will add an extra search capability to support search and rescue missions. One of the RNZAF’s Beech King Air 350 trainers has recently been fitted with a similar unit.