Earlier this afternoon, a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130H(NZ) ‘NZ7003’ visited LMML for a night stop following a flight from RAF Brize Norton.
The aircraft is currently operating in Europe as part of New Zealand’s efforts to join international military forces to supply aid to war-torn Ukraine. Working within the International Donor Co-ordination Centre in Germany, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) logistics personnel are helping efforts to co-ordinate the movement of donated aid to Ukraine.
Specifically, the personnel are working to make sure equipment donations are in accordance with Ukraine’s operational priorities. Based at the Royal Air Force base at Brize Norton, in the United Kingdom, the Hercules flies to specific centers in Europe to load and transport military equipment which is then moved to Ukraine.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force currently operates five C-130(NZ) Hercules aircraft. Delivery of the first three Hercules (NZ7001 – NZ7003) occurred in 1965. These were the first C-130H production models off the Lockheed production line. A further two C-130H (NZ7004 – NZ7005) were received in 1969.
All 5 aircraft have received a number of modifications and upgrades with the most recent being a Life Extension Programme that started in 2005. This involved an extensive upgrade in the avionics of the flight deck and structural refurbishment. Upon programme completion the aircraft were re-designated the C-130H(NZ).
On 5 June 2020 the Government of New Zealand announced that a fleet of five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 would replace the current fleet of C-130H(NZ) aircraft, with deliveries scheduled to commence in 2024.