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The Royal New Zealand Air Force is on track to acquire Lockheed Martin-built C-130J Super Hercules aircraft from the US as planned.

The US Government has approved a potential foreign military sale of five C-130J aircraft to New Zealand. The deal is valued at around $1.4bn and includes related equipment and support.

If Congress approves the deal, the New Zealand Government will also buy 24 Rolls Royce AE-2100D3 turboprop engines, and 15 embedded global positioning system (GPS) / inertial navigation systems (INS) with GPS security devices, airborne.

New Zealand’s request also includes AN/AAQ-24(V)N large aircraft infrared countermeasures (LAIRCM) system processor replacement, AN/AAR-47 missile warning system, radios, sensors and other communication equipment.

The acquisition of the aircraft will empower the New Zealand Air Force to address the risk posed by ‘current and future threats’.

The possible sale will also meet the requirement to support the UN and other coalition operations.

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By GlobalData

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said: “This purchase also includes sensors and performance improvements that will assist New Zealand during extensive maritime surveillance and reconnaissance as well as improve its search and rescue capability.

“Additionally, the extra cargo capacity and aircraft performance will greatly increase New Zealand’s Antarctic mission capabilities while simultaneously increasing safety margins.”

The Government of New Zealand selected the C-130J in June as the preferred option to replace the country’s five ageing C-130H aircraft due to increased maintenance costs of the existing units.

The C-130J was shortlisted for the replacement programme due to its ‘range and payload capability’.

The country is looking to equip the defence forces with tactical air transport capability.

Lockheed Martin is the principal contractor for the sale.