New Zealand's first C-130J emerges from paint shop

08/12/2023 News

The project to replace the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s Hercules fleet has marked a significant milestone, with the first C-130J Hercules aircraft completing its paint job.

Watch New Zealand's first C-130J emerge from paint shop (external link)(external link)

“It took 14 painters two days to apply 238 litres of paint on the 11.85 metre high aircraft, using ladders and scaffolding. Royal New Zealand Air Force markings will be applied in the coming months, including the RNZAF Kiwi roundel and Number 40 Squadron’s mariner’s compass,” says Andrew Rooney, Project Team Lead at the Ministry of Defence.

The second C-130J aircraft is currently having its engines fitted and will shortly head to the paint shop at Lockheed Martin’s factory in Georgia, USA.

Five new aircraft are on track for delivery from next year to replace the C-130H (NZ), which were purchased in 1965.

The new aircraft will be able carry more cargo, due to their additional 4.5 metre length and payload capacity of 21 tonnes. With a 15 tonne payload, they will also be able to travel 2400 nautical miles, compared to the current 1800 nautical miles.

The fleet will be used by NZDF as a first response option, for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, and deployment of personnel and equipment both within New Zealand and overseas.

The first three crews of Number 40 Squadron are now fully-trained and certified to fly the C-130J aircraft. A number of the aviators and maintenance personnel have just completed an exercise in Hawaii, where they were embedded with the US Air Force 19th Airlift Wing.

The construction of the full motion flight simulator continues in the United States, with testing now underway. Back home in New Zealand at RNZAF Base Auckland, work on the building that will house the simulator is well underway, with the roof to be added early next year.

C-130J Specifications

Wing span: 40.41m

Height: 11.85m

Length: 34.4m

Speed: 330kts

Payload: 21 tonnes

Passengers: 128

Gallery Photograph Captions

RNZAF aircraft operators and maintenance crew, along with a member of the Ministry of Defence Integrated Project Team, inspect the first New Zealand Hercules C-130J in Marietta, Georgia, USA.

The first Hercules C-J130 emerges from the paint shop at Lockheed Martin’s factory in Marietta, Georgia, USA.

RNZAF aircraft operators and maintenance crew inspect Lockheed Martin’s Hercules flight simulator at the factory in Marietta, Georgia, USA, along with Ministry of Defence staff.

The RNZAF Base Auckland building that will house the Hercules flight simulator is under construction, with a new roof to be added early next year.

RNZAF aircraft operators and maintenance crew at Little Rock Airforce Base, Arkansas, USA.