C-130 Hercules upgrade project successfully completed
In March the Ministry of Defence celebrated the successful completion of the C-130 Hercules upgrade project. The upgrade is the largest upgrade on a C-130 aircraft undertaken worldwide and the largest aviation upgrade programme completed in New Zealand.
The project included the refurbishment of the aircraft centre wings, refurbishment or replacement of other structural component, a major rewire, replacement of avionics systems, flight management, autopilot and navigation and communications suites. This will ensure that the aircraft continue to comply with evolving air traffic control regulations worldwide.
In mid 2010, L-3, the Ministry of Defence and Safe Air Limited reached an agreement for the Ministry of Defence to take over the management of the production phase for the upgrade of the remaining three aircraft following the closure of the contractor in Canada.
The upgrade programme in Blenheim was led by Graeme Gilmore with the support of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the Aviation Labour Group as the principal labour provider, and Safe Air providing support services to the project. Approximately 45 Aviation Labour Group personnel were employed for contract labour services for the duration of the programme.
The upgraded aircraft have already been in use with deployments to the Middle East as part of Operation Team, and assisting with the recovery efforts following Cyclone Winston in Fiji earlier last year.