On 11 June, New Zealand announced it had selected Lockheed Martin’s C-130J Super HERCULES as the preferred replacement for five aging C-130 HERCULES military transport aircraft, a choice in line with its closest allies.
The cabinet will seek detailed costing information through the US foreign military sale (FMS) process, according to New Zealand Defence Minister Ron Mark, who also stated that the government had previously estimated the cost at more than NZ$1 billion.
The United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, close allies of New Zealand and fellow members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, all have these aircraft.
The other contenders were Airbus with its A400M and Embraer with the KC-390 to replace the country’s 1960s-era HERCULES transports. Minister Mark said no final contract decision has been made for the C-130J on numbers, detailed costs or funding and budget implications, but a business case is expected to progress to cabinet next year.