The Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF’s) first of five new Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transports has emerged from the paint shop.

The work took place at Lockheed’s paint facility in Marietta, Georgia, says New Zealand’s defence ministry.

NZ C-130J

Source: New Zealand Ministry of Defence

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

The aircraft is expected to fly to New Zealand this year.

The RNZAF’s second C-130J is having its engines fitted before heading to the paint shop.

The aircraft will service the RNZAF’s No. 40 Sqn and three crews have been trained for the type.

The US Air Force (USAF) is helping New Zealand personnel get up to speed on the type. Several flight crew and maintainers just completed an exercise in Hawaii, where they were embedded with the USAF’s 19th Airlift Wing, which operates the C-130J.

A full motion flight simulator is being built for the RNZAF by CAE in Canada, and will eventually be moved to Auckland, New Zealand.

Source: New Zealand Ministry of Defence

New Zealand is obtaining five C-130Js

In 2020 Wellington approved the purchase of five C-130Js for $1.52 billion.

The RNZAF is in a major modernising drive, with the C-130Js to replace its legacy C-130Hs. Cirium fleets data indicates that the RNZAF has three in-service C-130Hs with an average age of 57.7 years, having already retired two examples.

The service has also accepted all four of its Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, which replaced its six Lockheed P-3K2 Orions.