The US Defence Department has pegged the price of five Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transports for New Zealand at $1.4 billion.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) statement follows Wellington’s announcement in June that it favoured the USA-built type to replace its five C-130Hs, and that it would request pricing information from Washington.
In addition to the aircraft the package includes a broad range of equipment and services related to the acquisition.
“This proposed sale will provide the capability to support national, United Nations, and other coalition operations,” says the DSCA.
“This purchase also includes sensors and performance improvements that will assist New Zealand during extensive maritime surveillance and reconnaissance as well as improve its search and rescue capability. Additionally, the extra cargo capacity and aircraft performance will greatly increase New Zealand's Antarctic mission capabilities while simultaneously increasing safety margins.”
Cirium fleets data shows that the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s five C-130Hs have an average age of 53.2 years. The government has said that sustainment of the fleet is increasingly challenging.
Two other types were in contention for the requirement, the Airbus A400M and the Embraer KC-390, which was recently re-designated C-390.
This is not the first time Wellington has selected the C-130J. In 1995 it took out options on five C-130Js, but cancelled these in 2002 in favour of upgrading the C-130Hs.