The Government has confirmed today it will replace the RNZAF’s existing fleet of Hercules aircraft with a new fleet of Super Hercules, costing $1.5 billion.
The intended purchase of five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules transport aircraft was announced last year, with an estimated cost of more than $1 billion.
Defence Minister Ron Mark said the current Hercules had been used since the 1960s.
"The new aircraft will carry a greater payload, is faster and can travel further than the current Hercules aircraft.
"Along with the new fleet, the $1.521 billion project will deliver a full mission flight simulator and other supporting infrastructure," Mr Mark said.
"This decision ensures tactical airlift will remain available to undertake operations in New Zealand’s immediate region, as well as support our interests in Antarctica, often in support of other government agencies."
Last year, the Green Party criticised the move, saying the aircraft were war-ready.
The Government had also approved $21 million to upgrade systems in the Air Force NH90 helicopters.