26 Oktober 2010
The flight deck of the newly upgraded Hercules (photo : RNZAF)
The Royal New Zealand Air Force today welcomed the return of the first of its C-130 Hercules aircraft to have undergone the Life Extension Programme (LEP).
During a short ceremony at Air Force Base Auckland, the aircraft was provisionally accepted by the Air Force from the Ministry of Defence, to commence Operational Testing and Evaluation (OT&E).
This enables the crews to develop and exploit the capabilities of the new systems leading to optimal use of the aircraft when tasked to support government requirements.
Air Component Commander, Air Commodore Steve Moore, who is responsible for the RNZAF’s operational taskings, said the upgraded Hercules is one of the most comprehensive C-130 upgrades ever carried out.
“The Air Force’s five C-130 Hercules are undergoing an upgrade that includes a new glass cockpit, upgraded navigational capability, an advanced communication suite, a centre wing refurbishment, a new self protection suite and replacement of 98 percent of its original wiring. The upgrades will enhance the ability to meet the varied and demanding tasks required of the aircraft.
“The Air Force is looking forward to commencing OT&E to optimise how our crews operate what is a significantly upgraded aircraft. Many elements of the upgrade will inherently improve reliability and availability of the C-130 Hercules fleet. It is an exciting time for the RNZAF with new and upgraded aircraft coming on board.
“No. 40 Squadron who operates the C-130s, will be able to utilise the aircraft in the many roles undertaken for the government and New Zealand, including tactical air transport, disaster relief and civil defence support, aeromedical transport and support to the New Zealand Antarctic programme,“ said Air Commodore Steve Moore.
Part of the upgraded Hercules package is the C-130 LEP Part Task Trainer (like a flight simulator) which electronically emulates the aircraft systems and thus represents a significant technological leap in terms of training for aircrew.