The New Zealand MoD has sent a senior project director to ensure the successful completion of the delayed C-130 Hercules life-extension programme.

The MoD sent the representative to the L-3 Communications Texas facility following the news that Safe Air in Blenheim is planning to reduce its workforce by a hundred workers.

L-3 Communications, the prime contractor for the C-130 upgrade programme, awarded a contract to Safe Air to perform upgrade work on three of the RNZAF’s C-130 aircraft.

The modernisation programme involved the aircraft’s centre wings and other structures, avionics systems, new glass flight decks, navigation and communication suites and night vision systems.

The upgrade programme was delayed for over two years after the contractor found issues surrounding the integration of software for these systems, and was unable to meet the schedule.

MoD deputy secretary for acquisitions Des Ashton said the Royal New Zealand Air Force needed its aircraft in operation and the MoD understood this.

The four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft, the C-130 Hercules is designed and developed by Lockheed. It is capable of using unprepared runways for take-offs and landings.