16 Desember 2014
C-17 Globemaster III (photo : USAF)
New Zealand First is stunned by news that the New Zealand Defence Force has enquired about buying the $400 million C17 Globemaster III.
“There is no way we could justify the $US2 billion price tag to replace our Hercules fleet let alone operate them,” says New Zealand First Defence Spokesperson Ron Mark.
“New Zealand First can reveal this cost based on a United States Foreign Military Sale notification from Australia for four C17’s.
“The cost is really our point because ‘budgetary limitations’ would likely land us with only two or maybe three C17’s. This means, yet again, we are trading numbers for size but two aircraft cannot be in three locations at the same time.
“Worse, if we purchased only a couple of C17’s, it is more likely these aircraft would combine with the Royal Australian Air Force in what our Prime Minister would talk up as some ‘ANZAC squadron’. This would see 40 squadron go the same way as 75 squadron.
“It is cut, cut, cut in terms of operational capability, but above all, operational flexibility.
“There’s no question the C17 is a magnificent strategic airlift aircraft but our needs are tactical not strategic.
“That’s why I couldn’t believe hearing Labour’s Phil Goff on the radio praising this Defence Force enquiry. Labour systematically disarmed our armed forces while National has not lifted a single finger to restore any lost capability.
“We wasted hundreds of millions buying too many Light Armoured Vehicles. We then bought hugely expensive NH90 helicopters and in fewer numbers than the Iroquois they replaced. Even then, we scrimped on automated folding rotors so taking the NH90’s to sea isn’t easy on that North Sea ferry design they used for the Canterbury.
“Labour also squandered $226 million extending the life of our C130’s instead of going for new or modern aircraft via United States’ Department of Defense stock.
“That would have been much cheaper and better given our youngest Hercules was delivered back in 1969. We must ensure our five old C130’s are replaced with at least five airlifters.
“New Zealand First is pledging to put the arms back into our armed forces and you’ll hear much more about this over 2015,” says Mr Mark.