The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) has received the first of five upgraded C-130 Hercules aircraft as part of the life extension programme (LEP).

The RNZAF will now begin operational testing and evaluation (OT&E) of the C-130 to enable the crew to develop and exploit the capabilities of new systems.

Under the LEP, the five C-130 Hercules will be modified with a new glass cockpit, upgraded navigational capability, an advanced communication suite, centre wing refurbishment and a new self-protection suite.

No. 40 Squadron will operate the C-130s for tactical air transport, disaster relief, civil defence support and aeromedical transport, and to provide support to the New Zealand Antarctic programme.

During the $250m project, each of the five C-130 planes will take 100,000 hours of work and 85km of wiring, according to